PROTECTING OUR OCEANS

During my second year at University we were given the opportunity to do a photo symposium with a University in India. Our theme for this exchange was the 10 principles from 'One Planet Living'. We each had to choose one  of these principles and illustrate them. I decided to collaborate with fellow student and photographer, Hannah Cranshaw. We elected to photograph the 4th principle, Land and Nature - protecting and restoring land for the benefit of people and wildlife. We were situated in Devon right on the edge of Cornwall so we decided to look into ocean pollution and how it's effecting our coast.

Our main inspiration for this project was Andy Hughes. A keen surfer, he has supported the 'Surfers Against Sewage’ campaign by providing them with images to further their cause. He has photographed plastic on our beaches since the 90s capturing various items of rubbish along our shores.

We mapped out serval beaches in Cornwall that we wanted to visit including Fistral, Newquay, Pendower and Carne. Our objective was to photograph the plastic that littered the beaches in order to raise awareness and show just how local this issue is to us.

At the end of the project we selected two triptychs. The first focused on the problem. Photographed individually the bright plastic contrasts the natural beach and horizon behind. Below each image are facts about ocean pollution. The second set shows the solution, how we can combat this crisis by doing beach cleans whether organised or individual.

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Each year, 8 million tonnes of plastic enters our oceans. This equals one garbage truck of plastic every minute.

Europe’s plastic recycling rate is 30 percent. The United States recycles just 9 percent.

Plastic straws take 500 years to biodegrade. Plastic bottles 450 years. Styrofoam will never degrade.

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Fishing wire is one of the most common and harmful plastics that enter our oceans. Not only do animals get caught in it, the rope breaks down into micro plastics that can be digested by them.

Throughout Devon and Cornwall, there are organised beach cleans to help remove the rubbish washing up on our shores.

By doing our bit we are helping to tackle the problem. It may seem like an endless battle but a little goes a long way.