It is quite unlikely that an average person would someday visit the Great Pacific Garbage patch to look at the scale of pollution that comes from irresponsible handling of trash. The gigantic mass of floating waste might be away, but you can get a sense of how bad things actually are simply by visiting a beach. Beaches are generally full of waste, discarded plastic bottles, cans, all kinds of waste thoughtlessly strewn around. A good number of people don’t really care about the trash, except perhaps the odd sneer.
Thankfully, there are people trying to bring increased activity and knowledge, and trying to illuminate minds about the dangers, and the sheer scale of trash you could find on a beach. Oregon based artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi created a project called “Washed Ashore” to increase awareness about the problem, and the extremely detrimental effects it can have on marine life.
Supported by a few volunteers and community members, Pozzi set on a mission to remove the plastic that littered the beaches of her hometown of Bandon in Oregon. The trash so gathered was repurposed to create giant sculptures of sea life that are harmed the most by this litter. Sea turtles for example, often mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, only to end up having plastic in their body, or being suffocated. Birds like the albatross often fall prety to the plastic as well.
It is animals like these that get the most attention in Washed Ashore’s sculptures. The exhibition now includes more than thirty sculptures depicting creatures like the sea turtle, sea lion pup, and whale bones rib cage.
In the last three years, Pozzi and her team have collected more than 11 tons of debris from Pacific beaches. A very impressive number, but a drop in the ocean compared to the garbage that finds its way to seas and oceans around the world. Pozzi and her team are making a difference, and their efforts would be called truly successful when people actually are aware and responsible about disposing off their trash.