Schoolkids in Galway are highlighting the issues of plastic waste polluting our coasts and oceans, and making some fine art while their at it with Flotsam.
A recent beach clean up at Rinville Beach as part of Clean Coasts Big Beach Clean weekend drew roughly 60 volunteers who gathered large amounts of plastic waste.
Rather than disposing of it, the organisers of Flotsam had a lot of sorted and cleaned, ready for young people to put to creative use.
Recently they held the first of the project’s school sculpture building workshops, giving students the chance to make a sculpture out of this repurposed plastic waste.
The sculptures they created were based on talks held last November with Garry Kendellen from Galway Atlantaquaria at three Oranmore primary schools to talk to young people about the problem of marine plastic, and what they could do to help.
“The children responded really well to the talks,” ” said organiser Eleanor Leadbetter.
“Several parents reported back to me that their youngsters were coming home with information about what they had learned and were even encouraging their parents to reduce their plastic consumption.”
Organised by Oranmore Arts Festival, Flotsam brings together schools, community groups and scientists to raise awareness of the problem of plastic pollution, and through this, to encourage the community to get involved in finding a solution.
Facilitators from Toodlelou Creativity Lab led the sculpture workshops, helping the children to turn their idea into a solid design, and providing technical support.
Gaelscoil de Híde completed their sculpture last week, with Scoil Mhuire and School Iósaif Naofa in the process of designing their sculptures at the moment.
“Through this project, we hope to foster a sense of ownership of the coastline among local people, as well as collecting plastic waste as the raw materials for the sculpture project,” Eleanor said.
“The problem of plastic waste in our seas is not going to disappear on its own,” she added.
“Only by inspiring and educating can we hope to make a difference to an issue which is spiralling out of control.”
“Through Flotsam we believe we can make a change to Oranmore, and in time maybe that change can spread further afield.”
Flotsam is a project from the Small Towns Big Ideas strain of events being put on by Galway 2020 to highlight give smaller communities to strut their stuff in the build up to the Europe Capital of Culture.