What do you do when you see litter on the beach? You pick it up, of course. But artist Angela Haseltine Pozzi doesn’t throw it away. She uses the trash to create giant sculptures of marine animals. The project is called Washed Ashore and its goal is to raise awareness about the effects of littering on ocean animals.
"The first thing you need to do is get people's attention," Pozzi told TFK. "Giant animals tend to do this very well."
Pozzi started Washed Ashore when she noticed plastics on the beaches in Oregon, where she lives. Plastic doesn't break down and become absorbed by the environment. Instead, sunlight breaks it down into pieces about the size of plankton, which are tiny organisms that float in the sea. These tiny pieces of plastic enter the food chain. Sea animals eat them and end up dying. Pozzi always loved the ocean and the animals in it, and she wanted to do something to help both.
One of Angela's sculptures is a turtle. The turtle's head is an old garbage can lid. There is netting around it to show that turtles are getting caught in these nets.
Another sculpture, called Fish Bite Fish, is shaped like a fish and made out of little bits of plastic that contain tooth and claw marks from the fish and crabs that tried to devour the plastic. "We get so many pieces of plastic like this, I'm on my third Fish Bite Fish [sculpture]," says Pozzi.
The Sea Star figure is made of of glass and plastic bottles, some of which are from the Beijing Olympics of 2008. The bottles started landing on the beaches in Oregon in 2010, and they still are arriving. The Sea Star acts as a musical instrument. You put water in the bottles and hit them to make music.
To watch a video featuring some of these sculptures, scroll down or click here.
A Helping Hand
Pozzi doesn't collect all the trash by herself. When people spot litter on beaches, they drop it off at Artula Institute for Arts and Environmental Education, in Bandon, Oregon. Then Angela and her volunteers begin the process of turning the waste into art. Everything used for the sculptures is found on the beach, except for the framework and the materials used to connect the litter together.
Who does Pozzi believe can save marine animals? "Kids have a lot of power,'' she told TFK. ''They are the ones that can make things happen. I really believe it."
TIME For Kids caught up with the Washed Ashore tour in Sausalito, California. The exhibit is currently in Chula Vista, California, from December 8 until July of next year.
Learn more at washedashore.org.