Toxic Plastic Life

The act of creating art in public spaces is a key way to bring important issues to the attention of large audiences. A good piece of art can be moving, stimulating, even disturbing, but most of all, it should provoke thought. The installation by PPC Artist Ally Alvaro Soler Arpa, Vida Tóxica (Toxic Life), encompasses all of these traits. Millions of travelers will be confronted with the issue of global plastic pollution as they pass through Espai Merce Sala Metro station Diagonal in, Barcelona, Spain, and at Terminals 1 and 2 of the city’s airport, El Prat de Llobregat, 08820 in Barcelona, Spain.


Throughout Soler Arpa’s universe, there are numerous animal bones, wires, and even our own waste, plastic, and rubbish that are used to create these fictional creatures. An ordinary bone becomes something extraordinary when he joins it with another bone, adds plastic to it and slowly it becomes a work of art. By doing so, he is making a political statement about plastic pollution and climate change. His concept of “contemporary dinosaurs” is inextricably linked to fossil fuels, the common element that links plastic pollution to climate change. In total, he created fourteen sculptures using bones and plastic waste to illustrate how runaway plastic pollution is affecting ecosystems and individual animals. Plastic pollution negatively impacts animals across the food chain, as approximately eight million tons of plastic are discarded each year. Throughout human history, our environment has been destroyed continually, and he represents the state of the world we have created. Ultimately, the materials that Arpa chose for the final work as a whole, directly reflect the overall agenda of the message he was trying to get across.

In order to effectively show how plastic pollution affects our environment and the animals in it, Arpa displays this model to show the audience the dense amounts of waste and plastic pollution within our environment. He also shows the results of society’s irresponsibility and human actions which have damaged our Earth.  The work he produces emphasizes the need for addressing global plastic pollution. Arpa’s purpose is to make people aware of the pollution on our planet, and he does a great job at showing that.


Despite my belief that it can be easy to agree with an issue of any kind, trying to influence someone cannot be easy, and I feel that Arpa nails all those components trying to influence people who see his work. He uses plastic to make these animals as a way to show how plastic pollution has affected the planet. This work incorporates material that explores the impact plastic has on the environment and lives within it. Arpa’s agenda was very specific, noting that “What I’m aiming for, is to draw people’s attention to the pollution of our planet. We, humans, are so proud of our rationality and have done great things, but for about a century we have also been the dirtiest animal in all the history of creation. The cancer of the Earth is becoming irreversible….”  

In addition to capturing an objective or message, art can also create an impact on society as a whole by serving as a medium for presenting it. It is often art that pushes people that require an improvement in their realities because it shows a new perspective in all economic, cultural, and political aspects in our society. Additionally, I feel like the media can be biased because a lot of the media focuses on certain scenarios and doesn’t show the full scope of the problem of plastic pollution. In addition, I feel like it gives the people what they want to see and does not present the whole picture. Therefore, by showing it through art, we are able to explain what might otherwise be difficult to convey with the media. I also believe that even if people show the horrible impacts of plastic pollution in many different ways, nothing will change unless everyone takes the time to address this problem. It can also be challenging especially with businesses that use plastic materials. So even showing this art, hopefully, makes a difference and helps people even try to find alternatives for plastic. 

As someone who loves to paint and draw it is nice seeing how much an impact someone else’s work can really affect a person. It can show a whole new message to people and I find it fascinating. I really do think it is important to take what you see through art and try and also make a change for a bigger and brighter future. Let’s help make the change.




Plastic Art

Angela Pozzi, founder, and artistic director of washed ashore, created this nonprofit to save the sea. She directs all the members and volunteers to help grow a following. Angela grew up around art, and ever since she was a child, her art has incorporated recycled and repurposed materials. In 2004 she experienced the loss of her husband. To cope with his death, Angela would go to the ocean to help her. As she took her trips to the beach, she saw all the waste left on the shore. She started to research more and more, which led her to today, making art to save the ocean. Her nonprofit has collected over 35 tons worth of plastic on the Oregon coast, which has turned into over 85 sculptures. These sculptures represent endangered animals and sea life.

As you can see in this picture, the sculpture represents a fish. It is supposed to relay today’s sad reality. Many sea life creatures are ingesting plastic every day or getting suffocated by plastic items. Under the fish, you can see how their fishnet and tangled rope. Fish frequently get caught or tangled in things that are left in the ocean. This is our fault, and we continue to let this happen.

The sculpture pictured above is a bird. As you can tell, it’s not only sea creatures that are affected by plastic. It’s estimated that 99% of sea birds will have ingested some plastic by 2050. That is sad. Many birds see plastic floating on the surface and think it’s food and consume it. These plastic items can quickly kill birds.

Pollution art is when plastics are made into an artistic display. Like I stated earlier, most artworks represent sea life affected by pollution. These sculptures are meant to educate our community on ocean pollution. Seeing these pieces in real life impacts people to make a change rather than just simply hearing about it online. Most of the time, these pieces are placed on the beach, so when people see them, it encourages them to think twice about littering.

Overall, I think pollution art is an excellent concept to help educate people. So many artists are switching to this type of art to not only help save our environment but to educate people on the dangers of pollution. You can help to by participating in beach clean ups and donating your plastic to these artists to use in their next sculpture!!

One Small Step for the World, One Big Step for France

Fruits and vegetables survive for months outside in all conditions and remain perfectly intact because they typically have an outer layer.  If this is the case, what changes when these foods are plucked from their trees or vines and moved into a store? The answer is nothing except an additional and unnecessary piece of plastic.  In France, 37% of all fruits and vegetables are sold with plastic wrapping but they are now realizing this is a precautionary step everyone purchasing this produce can live without.  Starting with around 30 items in 2022, France is creating a ban on all plastic “waste” wrapping.


You may be thinking what I first thought when I read this: how much a difference will it really make if only 37% of produce has this packaging in the first place and it is only being taken off 30 items for now.  According to Independent, this ban will help cut more than 1 billion pieces of plastic waste in the year 2022 alone.  This ban is also just the beginning of a plastic packaging ban on fruits and vegetables that will move in phases and conclude in the year 2026.  In January 2021, France imposed a plastic ban on straws, cups, cutlery, and styrofoam takeaway boxes that is still in place.

Cockburn, the author of the Independent article has done a good job with including facts straight from the Environment Ministry in France.  This helps to eliminate some bias and provide readers with accurate knowledge on what will be affected by the ban.  He also mentions two different sides on how people feel about this ban.  The Environment Ministry is ready for this to come into place because they believe in a circular economy and brining a rise to reusable and recyclable packaging.  Francois Roch, the president of the French Fruit Sellers federation, has a different outlook.  Although it is possible, he believes it will be a hard and long process to find sustainable swaps.  He also fears this ban will turn people away from buying unpackaged produce because they may worry about other people touching the produce before they buy it.

Although there are some setbacks, such as accessibility to plastic-free packaging, this hopefully provides some companies the motivation to step up to the plate and create something recyclable so that they can further build up and grow their company, as well as impact the Earth in a more positive way.

Image 2

Even though this is a four year plan, there always has to be a starting point before you can get to the finish line.  France is taking a leap of faith into the journey to becoming a plastic free country one step at a time.  With the numerous plastic alternatives out there, such as cardboard packaging or reusable bags, I think every country should try to take the initiative and follow in France’s footsteps. During my lifetime, I am excited to see how this plastic ban in France progresses, as well how many other plastic bans and packaging changes occur so that the Earth can continue thriving for generations to come.

Whale in the Plastic Ocean

While there has been many different artist who have taken on the task of portraying plastic pollution in our world, artist Cod Steaks created a major art instillation that takes the cake in this specific artistic category


Located in Bristol, United Kingdom this piece features two life-sized whales ‘swimming’ in an ocean of plastic soup, made from over 70,00 plastic bottles. This work is supposed to represent the “beauty and fragility of the ocean” and make a clear and bold representation of the reality of the world we have created through constant human environment degradation. The material choice of this work is the most important aspect overall, as the materials themselves are what truly represents the overall agenda of the artist themselves. Focused on the tumultuous amounts of plastic within our ocean, Steaks makes a specific point to shock and involve the audiences attention by displaying a realistic sized model to fully show the impact of the amount of waste and plastic pollution that fills our oceans on a day to day basis.

The grace of the rolling waves and the simplicity and size of the whale only show to contrast the damages and depletion that our Earth is going though due to the human condition and lack of concern our society as a whole as determined. The message is simple and is not an artistic piece that is difficult to understand by any means, but it values the importance of fixing the plastic pollution problem on a global scale


The value of art has a major impact on society as whole, using simple materials and symbolism to capture a message and certain agenda and portray it to the audience. I believe that art is often used as a from of expression over major issues within cultures and societies that need a push to have betterment in their realities. Plastic pollution has become a major issue within our economic, societal, political and cultural standards and has continued to push barriers in debate on what to do to better the environment humans have been depleting for so many years.

While I believe its easy to ‘support’ or ‘understand’ an issue, true symbolism, shock, and influence can not just be easily achieved, and I feel like Steaks does an impeccable job nailing all those major structures. The structure itself is amazing and grand in size that would take an audience by surprise and sheer shock when they stood next to it, yet the true impressiveness is the artistic flow and implicitness of the waves that are made from plastic, the truest form of symbolism of plastic pollution. Every aspect of the piece is made from some sort of plastic or metal material that weaves together the influence plastic has on not only the ocean itself but the marine life it surrounds as well. Cod’s agenda was very specific, with his ideology noting that “our sea of recycled plastic bottles represents the detrimental effect of plastic pollution on the ocean, which is something that all of us can act on—today—by reducing our consumption of single use plastics.”

Art is a perfect way to symbolize bigger issues with a simple message to capture an audience’s attention and influence them beyond what any research study or article understanding could do. I will always have a major appreciation for the artistic field for the true impressiveness of symbolism and activism weaved within.