There is a staggering amount of plastic waste — an estimated 2.6 million tons — floating around our oceans right now.
One art project in India, later replicated in Bali, is helping to bring awareness to the issue. “Yoshi the Fish” was created in Mangaluru, India, in 2018 by artist Janardhan Havanje. The large fish sculpture is made out of iron rods and is filled with plastic bottles, making it “the only fish that can eat plastic.”
India’s government recently took steps to curb the ever-worsening plastic waste problem that the country faces, banning several types of single-use plastic products. However, it remains to be seen how effectively the ban will be implemented.
India is far from the only place experiencing a plastic crisis. In Bali, the tourism industry (roughly 80% of its economy relies on tourism) combined with a waste management infrastructure that is not up to the task turns the island into an “island of trash” during the rainy months.
As a result, one resort was inspired to create a sibling for Yoshi the Fish. “Goby the Fish” was created by W Bali, Seminyak, a luxury boutique resort on the island. Goby functions as a large trash can, encouraging visitors to throw plastic waste into his open mouth, providing a way for them to help clean up the plastic waste they greatly contribute to while also sparking awareness and conversation around the issue.
While both sculptures, when filled with luminescent plastic bottles, are quite beautiful, the reason behind their existence is saddening.
Millions of tons of plastic waste continue to find its way into the ocean every year, as efforts to clean it up cannot even come close to keeping up with the constant influx of trash. And plastic never truly decomposes, instead breaking down into microplastics, which have now entered the food chain.
Plastic has now been ingested by most marine animals and has been found to be blocking the digestive tracts of at least 267 different species.
Hopefully, tourists who see Yoshi and Goby realize that they are the only two fish on Earth who actually want to eat plastic and, consequently, take steps to curb their own contributions to the problem.
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