Bermuda ‘Trash Art’ Shown At United Nations

Franklin-the-Turtle

Every year, students create art from beach plastics as part of a Keep Bermuda Beautiful education program, and this year one of the trash art pieces was selected to be part of a presentation at the UNEP Marine Litter Conference at the United Nations, Bernews.com reports.

The artwork — by Prospect Primary School’s Alaysia Swan, Khamanie Pitt-Nesbitt, Alziae Burgess and A’Vari Raynor-Hall who were assisted by Brittney Ferreira from the Bermuda High School — was shown at the UN on April 9th.

A spokesperson said, “The global problem of marine litter directly affects Bermuda and has been a focus for more than two decades. Over the past few years, KBB has developed a series of primary school level science lessons to help the students understand the serious effects of litter on the environment, both litter on the land and litter in the sea.

“The lessons include classroom learning, a field trip to the beach to examine debris that has washed ashore, and a fun and creative project to create art from trash, specifically beach plastics. One of the trash art pieces was selected to be part of a presentation at the UNEP Marine Litter Conference at the United Nations held last Thursday, April 9.

The opportunity arose when the Swiss-based Race for Water team visited Bermuda at the beginning of this month, and KBB Executive Director Anne Hyde showed Race for Water Founder, Marco Simeoni, several of the trash art creations.

“He was intrigued,” said Ms. Hyde, “as this was representative of what the students in Bermuda were learning about the ocean that surrounds them. He wanted to select one of them to give as a gift and display it at the UN Conference. A favorite piece called “Franklin the Turtle” which has been a part of KBB’s collection since 2013 was chosen.

The students who created “Franklin the Turtle” are Alaysia Swan, Khamanie Pitt-Nesbitt, Alziae Burgess and A’Vari Raynor-Hall from Prospect Primary School, and they were assisted by Brittney Ferreira from the Bermuda High School who was completing her IB project on marine debris.

Franklin was stowed on board the 70-foot trimaran “Odyssey” which is a fast racing boat that Race for Water have chosen for their journey to visit all five oceans of the world in 300 days.

Their awareness-building and research-based mission is “a race against time to save the oceans from plastic pollution”. The Fairmont Hamilton Princess hosted the expedition team while they were here.

On April 6 the sailors and Franklin, the stow-away, headed to their next stop at New York City where Race for Water Foundation had been invited to present to the UN. Franklin was given as a gift to Patricia Beneke, the Regional Director for North America of the United Nations Environmental Program [UNEP].

Bermuda is uniquely located in the Sargasso Sea in the North Atlantic oceanic gyre. A gyre is a series of currents that circle around the ocean creating a vortex. Bermuda is in the vortex and gets more than its share of ocean debris washing ashore, mostly plastics which have travelled from hundreds of miles away from other countries.

Sometimes sunlight and wave action breaks the plastic item into small fragments, called “micro-plastics”, and other times the whole plastic object washes up on Bermuda’s beaches, particularly after storms.

According to Captain Charles Moore, who is credited with discovering “the Great Pacific Garbage Patch” and who visited Bermuda in April 2012, the most prevalent and long-lasting items are plastic bottle caps. These are displayed on “Franklin the Turtle’s” back. Turtles often mistake floating plastic bags for their favorite food – jellyfish, and die as a result of ingesting the plastic bag. A bit of the plastic bag hangs out of “Franklin’s” mouth.

In 2010, KBB and other environmental organization formed the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce to study the problem of ocean plastic pollution and help develop local initiatives. While most of the marine debris is from other countries, some of it is from careless littering right here in Bermuda.

Other members of the Taskforce are Bermuda Aquarium Museum and Zoo, BIOS, Bermuda National Trust, Greenrock, BUEI, BEST, Mrs. Judie Clee, Bermuda Ocean Explorers, Bermuda College Science Department and the Government Departments of Waste Management and Conservation Services.

The Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce has recently completed a 5-year study from scientific data gathered at six study beaches in various locations around Bermuda. The report will be released later this year and the information is expected to be shared locally and globally.

“Bermuda often plays a part in ocean research because of its isolated location and the researcher’s ability to reach deep water just a short distance from Bermuda’s shores. Bermuda has had many research expeditions visit. Benefits are the opportunity for face-to-face exchange, and growing a global network of knowledge, data and solutions,” the spokesperson added.

“KBB is excited to play a part in the global picture and would like to thank the students who created “Franklin the Turtle”. The Conference participants were delighted by his unexpected arrival and it created a memorable moment that day at the UN.”

For the original report go to bernews.com/2015/04/kbb-environmental-education-reaches-un/

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