Plastic is forever! It does not biodegrade, but instead breaks down to the size of plankton. Rotating ocean currents or gyres are pulling in plastic garbage from every continent in the world and churning it into bite-size pieces. This debris confuses marine species and litters beaches, even in pristine remote locations. Can art be used to save the sea?
We recently took part in a community art workshop held each Saturday at Art 101 in Bandon. Community members, local schools, and state parks work together to gather plastic pollution off of beaches. Through the Washed Ashore Project, the plastics are washed, sorted, drilled, cut, and processed into art supplies. Lead Artist and Director Angela Haseltine Pozzi leads the community in creating large-scale sculptures of the very sea life that is threatened by marine debris.
- Over 200 billion pounds of plastic are produced worldwide each year, and it is estimated that only 4-7% of it is recycled.
- Plastic pollution now affects at least 267 species world-wide.
- 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles die annually from entanglement.
- 80% of marine debris comes from land via streets, storm drains, and rivers.
- Americans use ~1 billion disposable shopping bags, creating 300,000 tons of waste each year.
In our family, we make a concerned effort to reduce our use of plastics. I’ll be sharing the steps we have taken in a post next month.