Washed Ashore

Smithsonian National Zoo

Smithsonian National Zoo

By Heather Harper I Borderline Press I July 15, 2016

In honor of the presidential election year, and to celebrate 4th of July, my daughter and I spent the holiday weekend in Washington D.C. While visiting the Smithsonian National Zoo, we were privileged to see the amazing works of art created by the Washed Ashore project. The goal of the community-based organization is to raise awareness of the enormous amount of plastic which ends up in the ocean every year, which has added up to an overwhelming 315 billion pounds now floating in the sea.

Often, this garbage washes up onto the beaches, which Washed Ashore has amazingly transformed into sculptures of different sea creatures affected by this problem. The exhibit consists of 17 pieces, which are approximately 8+ feet tall, except the jelly fish which is much larger, and the shark which runs about 7 feet lengthwise. By giving each sculpture a name, it gives the creatures a persona which helps people to identify more with the project. The sea lion featured here was created from the rubber soles of shoes, fisherman’s rope, soda bottles, and other marine debris.

Hopefully, by shining a light onto the vast amounts of waste we produce, people will begin to think twice when reaching for a straw or purchasing a bottle of water. Each piece of plastic has the opportunity to make its way into the ocean each time we throw it away. It is up to us to make wiser, and more sustainable choices. The Washed Ashore project runs until September 5, 2016. Just be sure to bring good, comfortable shoes if you decide to go visit. It’s a bit of a hike, but well worth it.

Heather1Heather Harper is an AN Contributor and veteran writer. Most of her interests center in the non-fiction realm where she strives to use her “strength of the pen” to advocate on various social issues and causes. Learn more about Heather’s contributions to her craft.
*My twitter handle: @ExistentialMed


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