St Edward's Primary School, North Lanarkshire

Project: RoboFish

Our main reason for participating in the Stem the Flow Challenge was to raise awareness and inspire others to become more eco-friendly. As an Eco-School we are passionate about the environment and want to do our best to promote and encourage sustainable living.

The aim of our project is to reduce litter and waste in the local area by cleaning the North Calder Water River. During this project, we hope to become more knowledgeable about litter and the effects it can have on the environment. By acting now, we hope to put a stop to marine litter and prevent litter's journey from source to sea.

We wanted to create something which could remove any debris that had found its way into waterways. We wanted to design a robot that could come and go without causing too much disruption to sea life. We also wanted to set realistic goals and create something that was achievable. We started to come up with different ideas and after a lot of thought and consideration we decided that RoboFish – The Robot River Fish was the design we wanted to use for our challenge.

Scientific poster


Our design ‘Robofish’ is a little robot fish that can eat microplastics in water. The Robofish's main purpose is to swim around and absorb free-floating microplastics. It can accurately collect and sample nasty microplastics that pollute waterways.

Once collected researchers can investigate the microplastics and see how much of an impact they are having on the environment. If the Robofish happens to be eaten by other fish, it can be digested without harm as it is made from soft bioplastic which is biocompatible.

Through initial discussions we discovered that most team members agreed that local waterways in North Lanarkshire had been affected by litter. Most members also agreed that canals which were near local walking trails were most affected. Our team wanted to focus on a region in this area due to the increase in litter pollution. That is why we choose the North Calder Way. The river flows through Airdrie and is about a 15-minute walk from our school.

We investigated the area to see how badly it had been affected. From our investigation, we found that the North Calder Way had been impacted by many types of litter. The most common types of litter were coffee cups, bags, takeaway wrappers and cans among other items found in the river. Although when we compared it to other local waterways it was very little litter, we still wanted to prevent it getting even worse and protect our community from becoming polluted.


The Marine Machine Team

We really enjoyed participating in the STEM the Flow challenge this year. It has opened our eyes to marine pollution and its effects on the environment. We also hope to learn from other schools across the competition and become more informed about how to become more sustainable. We will continue to do our part to help keep the environment clean and free from litter.

If the Robofish happens to be eaten by other fish, it can be digested without harm as it is made from soft bioplastic which is biocompatible.


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