A remarkable ‘supermarket’ stocked entirely from marine litter is set to feature in a new exhibition dedicated to raising public awareness of the problem of pollution in our seas.
My Sea, Your Sea. Keep it Litter Free will showcase photographs and sculpture from artists who’ve used marine rubbish as the medium for their work.
The centrepiece will be ‘TruCost Super M-Art’, an installation from Brighton artists Lou McCurdy and Chloe Hanks, consisting entirely of consumer products washed up on South West shores, including plastic drinks bottles, lighters, flip-flops, shampoo bottles, cleaning products, cutlery and toys.
The exhibition is part of the three-year, €4.5 million EU-funded MARLISCO project, being led in the UK by Professor Richard Thompson and Dr Sabine Pahl of Plymouth University, to engage and educate people on the issue of marine litter.
Dr Lauren Carroll, MARLISCO UK Outreach and Engagement Officer at the University, said: “We’re really looking forward to putting on this exhibition and making people aware of the problem of marine litter and what we can all do to try to reduce it. The artists’ work is fantastic and attention-grabbing and really helps to portray the true extent and scale of the problem we’re facing.”
The five-metre-by-three-metre TruCost Super M-Art promises to “subvert the universally mundane shopping experience, raise awareness of plastic pollution in the marine environment and inspire visitors to use plastic in more sustainable ways”. All of its litter ‘products’ have been gathered from beaches in Devon and Cornwall by local cleaning groups.
Claire Wallerstein, from Rame Penisula Beach Care Group, said: "We've been really happy to help collect items for this project, and we hope it will help to show just how much of our daily waste is polluting our local beaches, damaging the marine environment and killing marine life.”
Aside from information about the sources, problems and solutions of marine litter, the exhibition will also feature artwork from photographer Andrew Hughes, a number of sculptures from the Rame Peninsula Beach Care Group (including a guillemot made from cable ties) and a huge whale sculpture from Plymouth graduate Paul Wright, made from recycled plastic bottles.
My Sea, Your Sea. Keep it Litter Free will be held at the Barrow Centre at Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Torpoint, from Saturday 12 July – Wednesday 13 August. The exhibition will be open daily from 10.00am until 4.00pm, but will feature additional activities on set dates throughout. These include ‘Ocean Warrier’ events, which will be held throughout the summer for children, providing fun but educational activities on how they can tackle the problem of marine litter, including exploring microplastics and plankton with microscopes, uncovering marine litter finds from sandpits, learning about the types of item that marine life often mistakes for food, and recycled artwork workshops.
MARLISCO aims to promote co-responsibility among different sectors of society, including recreational and commercial users of the coast and sea, environmental groups, educators, government and policy makers, the media, waste management sectors, and designers, manufacturers and retailers of items that can potentially become marine litter.
Professor Thompson, a world-renowned marine scientist from the School of Marine Science and Engineering who last month addressed US Senator John Kerry about the issue at a major international conference, said: “Marine litter is a global environmental problem. It has negative consequences for the economy, for human health and for wildlife. Yet with action from all of us, the problem of marine debris is entirely avoidable. I am delighted that funding to Plymouth University via the EU MARLISCO project has made this event possible.”