We’ve all been to the beach and likely seen litter and plastic pieces strewn about. Hopefully most of the pieces and tossed in the recycling bin. Sadly, a lot of plastic in our oceans. The Algalita Foundation, which monitors ocean pollution, estimates that 80% of marine debris comes from humans on land. Of that, 65% comes from consumer used plastics that have been disposed of improperly. Even if you live inland, plastics can make their way to the ocean and into our local waterways. Not all of it is captured before it races out to sea. Once at sea, it can travel hundreds upon hundreds of miles and float around for decades on end.
Some of this plastic returns to shore, but much of it swirls around in what some call the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”, which is an area in the North Pacific’s Subtropical Gyre. Essentially this vast area is a plastic soup vortex where debris gets caught and doesn’t leave. That’s a lot of plastic, which can harm and kill aquatic life when they confuse the pieces for food. Let’s not also ignore that the plastic that makes its way to the shore is a very nasty sight for us beach goers.
In an effort to educate the public about the problem, as well as to visualize how much plastic is actually out there, artists Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang of Northern California have been making art with the plastic they find on their local beach for the past thirty years. While inspiring, their work is also striking in its ability to convey plastic’s real impact on our planet.
Check out Richard and Judith’s work and hear why they continue to produce art with the plastics they collect in the video below.
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