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Giant Plastic Art Hopes to Stop Plastic Pollution

Sep 26, 2016 04:42 AM EDT
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A new art installation hopes to change people's perception of plastic wastes. "Natural Plasticity" is a project of artists Jana Cruder and Matthew LaPenta, which aims to draw attention to the growing problem of plastic pollution.

The installation consists of a gigantic inflatable water bottle and a Starbucks-like plastic cup with a green straw both made from actual post-consumer recycled plastic. Both objects measure about 20 to 30 feet in length, almost the size of a bus.

The art installation wants people to take notice of plastic wastes around them, and at the same time -- in reference to "neural" plasticity, the ability of the brain to form new neural connections -- urge them to form new habits when it comes to plastic consumption.

According to the artists, the installation aims to highlight the impact of consumer and corporate behavior regarding single-use plastics, encouraging the viewer to evaluate his or her own plastic consumption behavior.

"In order to change what is manufactured and marketed, we must first change the individual," the artists wrote in their website. "These larger than life objects, when placed in landscapes unaccustomed to art, grab hold of the viewer and ask them to look inward at their own habits."

Cruder and Lapenta are working with Los Angeles' Parks and Rec and as part of the World Art Vision for Environmental Sustainability (WAVES). The plastic objects are displayed to purposefully ruin the view of onlookers, which will prompt them to approach the installation with curiosity.

The giant pieces of plastic litter are being moved and displayed from one location to another. The installation is currently in the Los Angeles area and will be moved to the Two Harbors Music Festival on Catalina Island in October. The installation will mimic the path of discarded plastic, from where they started in March of this year at Pershing Square in Los Angeles and eventually making their way to the ocean.

According to a 2015 study from the Plastic Disclosure Project and Trucost, plastic pollution is causing about $13 billion worth of damages to marine ecosystem each year. Experts project that the standard polyethylene plastic bags could take 500 to 1,000 years to break down in landfills. Biodegradable plastics, on the other hand, could take three to six months to decompose, but decomposition rate depends on various factors.

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