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Environmental groups decry art installation’s unnecessary impact on the environment.

Norbert Sparrow

January 23, 2017

2 Min Read
Wet blankets protest Sydney’s plastic beach

Last August, Clare Goldsberry wrote about an art installation in Tampa, FL: A plastic “beach” consisting of more than one million polyurethane balls. Think ball pit on steroids. This month, the installation moved to Australia to be part of the Sydney Festival, a citywide arts festival that is held annually in January. Not everyone is pleased.

Environmental groups are decrying the “ocean without sharks” for generating a “large and unnecessary impact on the environment,” reports Radio New Zealand (RNZ) on its website. “I think it's an inappropriate message in this day and age,” said Liza Dicks from Sea Shepherd's National Marine Debris Campaign. “We are trying to put a message out that we need to reduce our plastic consumption.”

"Sydney has a profound problem with plastic pollution,” Paul Sharp from Two Hands Project told RNZ. “Our beaches are choking in plastic [and] our councils are spending millions of dollars every year trying to clean up the mess,” he said, opining that the installation was a frivolous representation of a plastic beach.

A Sydney Festival spokesperson responded that the organizers were keenly aware of environmental considerations. "This project was only possible because the balls already exist as part of this art installation in America. So we made the choice to travel those balls to Australia rather than to re-make them,” said Artistic Director Wesley Enoch. "There's a chance for the recycling of those balls and also we're in negotiations for the last month or so about re-using the balls in the installation in another place,” he added.

While art is in the eye of the beholder—I’m not sure that the installation rises to that level—the plastic beach sure looks like a lot of fun to me. See for yourself in the video below. 

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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