MANILA, Philippines — Plastic wastes are usually regarded as eyesores, but not in an ongoing art exhibit intended to raise awareness of the worsening state of plastic pollution.
The “Life in Plastic” art show is currently on a campus tour after its debut last month at the Talyer 15 studio in Pasay City.
Organized by Greenpeace Philippines, the mobile and immersive art exhibit was last featured at Miriam College in March. It is due to be presented next in a series of weekly schedules at the University of Santo Tomas, University of the Philippines (UP) in Manila, UP Diliman, Ateneo de Manila University, and De La Salle University in Dasmariñas, Cavite.
“The exhibit will continue for the remainder of the year, with schools and organizations nationwide, like Baguio, Bulacan, and Bohol, expressing their interest in hosting the exhibit,” said Eunille Santos, Greenpeace digital campaigner.
Visitors in each show are greeted with art pieces made of plastic waste from past brand audits, or plastics collected from waste streams and audited according to their brand and plastic type.
The artworks were designed by student artists from Ateneo and UP Diliman.
One of the interactive displays titled “Bangong Nakakagigil” had a prompt urging visitors to sniff at two containers having the citrus-like scent of the sea breeze.
On the other side of the display are another two containers with the strong, repellent smell of burned plastic.
Marian Ledesma, a senior campaigner of Greenpeace Philippines, said: “Plastic has become so ubiquitous that the majority of its impacts escape the naked eye. Microplastics are in the food that we eat, the clothes that we wear, and even in the air that we breathe. It’s everywhere.”
Coleen Salamat, a plastic solutions campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition, said: “Plastic has also been found in the bottom part of the lungs, and even in our blood. Plastic does not only affect our oceans and food chain but is also very alarming to our health.”
The goal of the exhibit, Ledesma said, is to spread the realization that plastic waste was more than the usual eyesores and included as well their “invisible effects” on the people and the environment.
“We’d like to see the biggest corporations, who also happen to be the biggest plastic producers, experience how the packaging they produce disrupts lives and health. All the trash we see in this exhibit comes from them, and this is just a tiny fraction of the entire waste they produce annually,” she said.