The Objects Found on the Beach has been a project focusing on depicting the impact humanity makes on the environment through plastics waste. Currently there is around 260 mln tonnes of plastic waste circulating in the oceans, forming so called five gyres – the areas in the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian oceans where waste is accumulated due to the movement of the currents. Plastics is presently found in equal proportion with plankton in the ocean, which is highly interconnected system. When a micro-plastic bead is swallowed by a small fish, it travels up the food chain, and large fishes, birds or mammals accumulate enormous quantities of plastics in our bodies. Plastics releases toxins that are harmful for our health. It doesn’t not degrade and is bound to be present in the natural world for hundreds and hundreds of years. That is why more and more activist are trying to do something to bring us back from this dangerous path. Marine scientists take probes to understand how plastics travels across the ocean and accumulates in different organisms, inventors come up with technologies for collecting the plastic debris from the surface of the ocean, but more importantly, research is under way to develop new materials that are fully biodegradable and could be used to replace plastics in packaging altogether.
This project, that was part of ArtCOP21 run in conjunction with the UN Climate Change Meeting in Paris was devoted to the use of photography to attract attention to this issue: http://www.artcop21.com/events/objects-found-on-the-beach/
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(c) Images Dr Stanislav Shmelev