A staggering 8 million metric tons of plastic debris enters our oceans every year. While some of it is eventually washes up along the coast, recent studies have estimated that there is currently more than 5 trillion individual pieces of plastic drifting in the deep blue sea.
Galvanized by this sobering reality, artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi began creating uncanny sculptures of marine wildlife using debris found washed up on beaches.
The clever, larger-than-life sculptures are currently part of a traveling educational exhibit organized by the Washed Ashore Project, a nonprofit organization that harnesses the power of the arts to teach communities about environmental issues. Many of the pieces were created with help from passionate volunteers.
"Most of the stuff we get off the beaches is coming from the middle of the ocean or from overseas," Pozzi explains in an interview. "We process it by hosing it down, sorting it, scrubbing it, soaking it, cutting it and drilling it."
Although the sculptures are undeniably beautiful, it's an unsettling kind of beauty.
don't realize how bad it is by just listening to statistics," Pozzi says. "I thought, I need to do something that makes
people [...] not ignore the problem."
It's easy to avoid thinking about the trash you discard every day, but Pozzi's works serve as a reminder to everyone that society's "out of sight, out of mind" strategy for waste management is simply not sustainable.