PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A new exhibit at the Oregon Zoo is putting a big spotlight on plastic pollution.
Angela Haseltine Pozzi started the project, called “Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea,” in 2010 along the Oregon Coast.
It features giant, colorful sculptures of sea life made from debris collected along the coast with the help of volunteers. In all, Pozzi collected and processed about 26 tons of trash to make sculptures like “Chompers the Shark” and “Hugo the Humpback Whale.”
“American Sea Star” is made of fireworks found on the beach. There’s also a fish made entirely of flip flops, a sea jelly bloom made using plastic water bottles and a seal made with plastic lids named “Lidia.”
“These are all pieces of plastic fish have taken bits out of,” Pozzi said. “Anything you can do to reduce your plastic consumption is just a huge help to animals.”
The Oregon Zoo said nearly 9 million tons of plastic enter our oceans every year and the number is expected to grow.
“Washed Ashore” has traveled across the country. For Pozzi, who lives in Bandon, seeing the exhibit at the Oregon Zoo is extra special.
“It’s really exciting to bring this back to where I started,” she said. “It’s really exciting to be here.”
The exhibit opened this week and will be at the Oregon Zoo through September.