A Toronto resident has created a giant globe in the shape of Earth out of plastic garbage collected on Woodbine Beach this past summer.
Dora Attard, founder of Plastic Free Beach Toronto, revealed her new art installation on the beach on Sunday to focus attention on the problem of single-use plastics. The globe is made up of more than 500 water bottles and thousands of pieces of coloured plastic.
She said the artwork is the result of weeks of picking up garbage in a bid to keep Woodbine Beach clean. It was displayed on the beach in front of Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pool.
In the artwork, water bottles make up the world's oceans while plastics of different colours make up the continents.
"Today, I am showcasing a new installation using beach plastic that was found on the beach this summer," Attard said.
"Plastic water bottles are supposed to be the water part of the globe. Then I have each continent covered with different bits of plastics found on the beach in different colours."
After the COVID-19 pandemic hit Toronto, particularly in May and June, the amount of garbage left behind on Woodbine Beach was "unbelievable," she said.
Attard appealed to the city through her councillor for help and the city brought more garbage bins for the boardwalk and beach and assigned more city workers to beach cleanup. In July and August, the amount of garbage lessened, she said.
"More people definitely means more garbage," Attard said.
WATCH | Dora Attard, founder of Plastic Free Beach Toronto, talks about her art installation made of beach trash.
Attard said the pieces of garbage most commonly found on the beach are cigarette butts, lids and bottle caps, water bottles and plastic straws. The most surprising thing she found was plastic implants for a bikini. She also finds needles.
When she finds toys, she saves them to allow them to be reused. She used to have a community beach toy box that she kept on the beach last summer, but she thinks it was used for firewood and it's disappeared.
Attard also organized a beach clean up on Sunday, an activity that she has organized every Sunday since the start of spring.
About four groups scoured the beach for garbage on Sunday, picking up individual items with garbage pickers. She also provides rubber gloves and garbage buckets. Attard collects the garbage, sorts it, counts it and weighs it.
"The majority of the little bits I find are washed up from lake that have been broken down in microplastics, which is more dangerous than a bigger piece. They're eaten by birds and fish, and if you're not a vegetarian and you eat the fish, then the plastic goes inside of you. It's bad cycle," she said.
Bryan Bowen and his son Noah join the beach clean up on Sunday.
"We are here today to support our neighbour Dora's initiative to help keep Woodbine Beach clean. We are going to be picking up some plastic along the shoreline and along the boardwalk," Bowen said.
"We do live in the area. We use Woodbine beach for swimming and walking all the time. It's been disappointing to see the amount of litter accumulating this summer, so we wanted to come down and lend a hand to help to keep it clean," he added.
The pandemic has brought out the crowds to Woodbine Beach, he said.
"It's great for local businesses and it's great to see so many people enjoying the lake, but we also want everybody just to do their part, pitch in and help to keep the beach clean so we can all enjoy it together."
Plastic Free Beach Toronto describes itself as an organization that serves to educate people on the amount of single-use plastic that is used and thrown away daily and to encourage people to create a cleaner world for future generations.