Whale sculpture highlights plastic pollution threats

In promoting the World Whale Conference in Durban later this month, an art initiative, Creations for Cetaceans, is helping school children make whale sculptures from recycled ocean waste. Roving Reporters Ocean Watch ambassador, Diony Lalieu, reports.

Creations for Cetaceans is a collaboration between the organisers of WWC and Durban’s mixed media décor company, Umcebo Design.

The first whale sculpture, commissioned by Woolworths, highlights the importance of recycling to protect our oceans, says Umcebo Design’s creative director, Robin Opperman.

Samuel Gwezva, Ujala Sewpersad and Kayliegh Stuart-William are putting the finishing touches on this whale sculpture created out of recycled ocean waste by Umcebo Design in association with learners from Manor Gardens Primary School in Durban. Photo: Fred Kockott

“In participating school kids learn more about the impact we have on our oceans and what they can do to recycle more,” said Opperman.

“The children build whales from recycled waste materials like plastics and wire netting that end up killing marine life in our oceans,” said Opperman.

He said the finished whales will be exhibited at the Welcoming of the Whales festival, co-hosted by Durban South Tourism (Sodurba) and the World Whale Conference 2017 which gets under way from the 24th to 29 of June.

The first whale sculpture, commissioned by Woolworths, has been named Echo, by learners at Manor Gardens Primary School.

Umcebo Design provided the skeletal wire mesh frame which learners have decorated with blue, black and white plastic bottle tops collected from beaches.

Learner, Mia Chappe, said she had learned a lot making a beautiful sculpture using the very materials that are harming whales.

The children are also asked to write about what they learned.

“Imagine you were a Humpback whale gliding along the surface of the ocean,” wrote Sam Walker. “Suddenly, you see something. Food. Except, it is not food, it is a bottle cap . . . There is not one, but dozens. You silently open your mouth and swallow.”

The threat posed by plastics in the ocean comes under the spotlight today at various World Oceans Day events around the world, including a presentation at Ushaka’s Marine World being covered by Roving Reporters.

Click here to read more World Oceans Day.

Click here to read more about the forthcoming World Whale Conference in Durban.

Roving Reporters Ocean Watch series is supported by the Human Elephant Foundation





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