When plastic becomes art

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Early in the morning (for pupils and students at least) at 8 o’clock, still raining, we went to Fetovaia Bay to sample plastic before the local owners of the bar had a chance to clean up the beach from the coarse waste, which would be counterproductive regarding our case-study. But no worries, there was plenty of plastic waste for all of us. During the night the weather had changed and wind from the south washed up plenty of plastic. We measured ten squares of 10m x 10m each, starting from the eastern side of the beach. For comparison we added three 10m x 10m squares from the west side, where we had spotted lots of sea grass that has washed ahore. We started to pick up bit by bit from both sides. Back at the station we cleaned and dried the collected material and determined the weight. 1.12 kg of plastic were collected on 1300 m² in total. We mostly collected small pieces of plastic — the sheer number of lollipop sticks was striking — and cigarette butts caught by sea weed. The smallest piece was 0.2 mm and about every two meters we found a lollipop stick. Just wow. We made the best of what we collected and apart from removing it from the beach, we decided to create some art in the form of a collage. A bit morbid considering its source. The successful morning kept us motivated and we decided to sample the bay of Marina di Campo, too. Another beach clean-up of 1000 m² was our afternoon’s program. Although that beach had been professionally cleaned in the morning according to locals, we found enough waste to fill to buckets, the details of which we will analyse tomorrow. Time for dinner.