It’s summer, which means it’s that time of the year to hit up all your favorite beaches and bask in the sun. It’s a time to lounge around in the sand and dip your toes into the cold ocean. But what do you do when the beach you visit is filled with garbage? Plastic pollution is a growing issue around the world. When plastic is not properly recycled, it can easily end up in the ocean and later wash up on beach shores. Activist Rob Arnold was majorly disappointed with the amount of trash he found at Tregantle Beach. Instead of picking it up and recycling it, however, he decided to turn all the plastic he found into works of art.Unfortunately, that means it’s been showing up in areas it shouldn’t be. Plastic easily migrates from landfills to the ocean all the time.
Instead of throwing away what he scavenges, he raises awareness about Earth’s plastic problem by making art out of what he finds.
He was devastated when he noticed the enormous amount of microplastic that surfaced on the beach.
After his stroll, Arnold decided to gather up a few other volunteers to help collect all the rubbish.
He’s actually used to seeing garbage wash up on the shores. The amount that washed up on Tregantle Beach “shocked and saddened” him.
“But the way it was this time was a shock to me, it was desperate.”
“It was like the ocean had vomited it out and presented it to us and I felt it was our duty to clean it up.”
He found various little objects and random artifacts.
This is horrible news as the plastic has proven to be very harmful to marine life.
Such pieces are less than 5 mm long. Nurdles are small plastic pellets, which is the raw material most plastic goods are made out of.
It took him approximately four days to collect 1,500 bottles from a cove near Trengantle.
“It makes me sad to see the rubbish. You could be defeatist as year-on-year it’s getting worse, but cleaning it up, puts me in a positive frame of mind.”
According to Arnold, different coves attract certain types of rubbish depending on the tides, weather and time of year.
Although the team was able to impressively fill up 35 trash bags, Tregantle’s shore is still filled with the rubbish.
For instance, he has a collection of toy soldiers that any collector would be proud of.
Just look at all those LEGO flippers!
Arnold has actually created his very own machine that helps separate rubbish from the sand.
According to Arnold, the beach this time had way too much rubbish for his gadget to handle.
Instead, Arnold decided to take one step further by repurposing all the microplastic he found into works of art.
A lot of his artwork is now a part of The Plastic Age Exhibition being held at the Liskeard Museum.
The exhibit has works from Tracey WIlliams of Lego Lost at Sea, Louise Slee of Beach Treasures, Trinkets and Trash, and Michelle Costello of Smartie Lids on the Beach.
“Plastic affects the whole food chain. The poisons get into fish, which is bad for us, but for marine life it’s tragic.”
He returned to collect even more rubbish from the beach, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence.
Something as simple as picking up a few plastic bottles on the beach can make a difference.
Cleaning up any plastic or marine debris along your path can actually go a long way.
But no matter the size, these tiny bits have proven to be very damaging to the environment, especially the ocean.
The obvious answer is to recycle every piece of plastic you intend on throwing away, but you can also wean yourself off disposable plastics.
Such plastic includes disposable utensils, straws, grocery bags, plastic wrap, plastic bottles and coffee-cup lids. Instead of repeatedly purchasing these items and throwing them away, try replacing them with reusable versions instead.