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One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Sculpture and a Menace to Marine Life

Photo-Courtesy of College of the Atlantic

When a recent necropsy on a leatherback turtle revealed a collection of plastics in the stomach of the marine animal, it caused one student to wonder.

How can you possibly help people understand how trash in our oceans threaten marine life?

College of the Atlantic student Phinn Onens says the answer to that question lies in art. More specifically a sculpture made from ocean debris he’s collected.

The material for his sculpture was gathered during journeys to Hulls Cove, Sand Beach, and the Shore Path of MDI three or four times most weeks since November. Each time he went, Onens would return with new trash, filling at least four plastic bags with lobster gear, hubcaps, disposable utensils, plastic toys, bottles and more on each excursion.

“I had thought the beach of the national park would be more pristine,” he says. “But that was only because I hadn’t been searching for it beforehand.”

Onens sculpture will be unveiled Wednesday at 5pm at the college’s George B. Dorr Museum of Natural History. It will remain on display in the museum for several months.


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