Art highlights beauty, tragedy of ocean plastic

By Lara Yamada
Published On: Oct 21 2013 07:54:00 PM HST

Cleaning up our oceans and creating something you won't forget.

HONOLULU -

“It's falling off the radar. The public concern is dropping, because our federal agencies have not stepped into it like it should,” said Chris Pallister.

He and his his non-profit Gulf of the Alaska Keeper have already spent the past 10 years picking up one million pounds of debris from over a 1,000 miles of Alaska coastline.

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“We’re starting to find drums of chemicals coming up now, just last week we found a gallon drum of chemicals that just washed up on the beach,” he said.

“There’a a comb, a drink holder, flip-flops, lighter,” explained artist and 30-year teacher Angela Pozzi describing one of her pieces of art.

She decided to do something big, literally.

Moving folks to tears, and into action, she said, by making gigantic art out of marine debris and the kind of stuff we all throw away.

“I wanted it to be where people would want to take their picture next to it, and then they would have to tell people what they got their picture taken next to,” said Pozzi.

“So this is stuff that was actually ingested by Laysan albatross,” said Kahi Paccaro of Sustainable Coastlines.

Across the room, swirls of red and blue, as beautiful as it is tragic.

But Pacarro said in all that trash they're finding a different kind of light.

In just over two years some six tons of plastic from Hawaii's beaches has been transformed through a process to make some 50,000 bottles of plastic soap, with 50,000 bottles more already in production.

“They're able to see that this marine debris has been washing up on Hawaii beaches in such copious amounts we can actually make bottles out of it.

All here for a four-day Pacific Rim Marine Debris Conference, they are sharing their stories, in the battle to keep the tide of plastic at bay.

“When people say I had no idea, I know I've done something right,” said Pozzi.

On Tuesday, some of the state's leading experts in marine debris will fly to an international workshop in Japan.

On the agenda is everything from better clean up methods to turning fishing nets into energy.  

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