5 heart-breaking photos that will change your single-use plastic habit
Most of us come into contact with single-use plastics every day, from grocery bags to bottled beverages and disposable cutlery for takeaway meals. The material, invented in the mid-18th century, has brought great convenience to daily life, but it has also damaged our environment, especially our oceans.
A new photography exhibition at the ArtScience Museum, Planet or Plastic?, spotlights the urgent need to deal with the global plastic pollution crisis. It highlights the devastating effects of the crisis with more than 70 heart-wrenching pictures captured by the National Geographic’s explorers and photographers. The startling images zoom in on our over-reliance on single-use plastics, its impact on marine wildlife, and the efforts of communities to reduce consumption of single-use plastics.
To help the public start their personal journey in combating plastic pollution, the ArtScience Museum has also organised a series of programmes, including a beach clean-up, that will arm participants with practical tips for reducing, reusing, recycling and refusing single-use plastics.
Here are five not-to-be-missed photos from the exhibition.
The Ensnared Turtle by Jordi Chias (2010)
This photo was shot by award-winning underwater photographer, Jordi Chias. The image shows a loggerhead turtle ensnared by plastic fishing nets in the Mediterranean Sea. Fishing gear abandoned in the ocean is a huge threat to marine animals such as sea turtles and dolphins. Had Chias not come upon the turtle and freed it, it wouldn’t have been able to surface for air and would have eventually died of suffocation.
Discarded Fishlines or Jellyfishes? by Mandy Baker (2018)
Widely lauded for her work involving marine plastic debris, award-winning photographer Mandy Baker has captured in this picture an evocative image of discarded fishing lines, which resemble colourful jellyfish. The fishing lines have been shaped into nest-like balls by the ocean tide as it washes the lines along and causes them to pick up debris in their path.
Poisonous Popsicles by Zheng Yu Ti (2018)
This image was made by former National Taiwan University of Art student Zheng Yu Ti. The photo is part of his graduation project with two other students, Hong Yi Chen and Guo Yi Hui. The trio visited a hundred sites in Taiwan to collect contaminated water and freeze them into inedible popsicles. Their goal: to shine a light on unsavoury pollutants such as plastic waste, and inspire people to produce less waste.
The Wandering Seahorse by Justin Hofman (2017)
Photographer and naturalist Justin Hofman was snorkeling in the ocean near Sumbawa Island, Indonesia, when he spotted a seahorse clinging to a discarded pink cotton swab. Seahorses may grasp onto drifting seagrass or other natural debris with their tails and use them as an anchor while they feed. The image highlights the presence of plastic pollution even in remote locations.
Recycling in Developing World by Randy Olson (2017)
In Valenzuela City, Philippines, recycling is done not by electronic sorting machines but by hand. In this image, a factory worker sorts through heaps of plastic bottles at Toplun Plastic Corporation, which imports plastic scrap and bottles. The bottles are re-made into plastic pellets used to create new plastic products.
Get your tickets to Planet or Plastic? at the ArtScience Museum here. The show is on until 28 March 2021.