Felixstowe resident, Ben Matthews, will be exhibiting his new collection at Art on the Prom which is made entirely from plastics left on the beach, highlighting the increasing problem of plastic pollution in our seas.
Plastic washes up on Suffolk’s beaches with every tide, is blown on to the beach or is left by visitors to the seaside. This looks unpleasant for those visiting the seaside, which could damage Felixstowe’s economy, but it also endangers sea life.
It is estimated that by the year 2050 there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish. Plastic pollution is a real threat, with the Government recently announcing a ban on microbeads in cosmetic products. Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign also visited Felixstowe last weekend, bringing its 10 metre plastic whale, Plasticus, showing how much plastic is dumped in seas every second.
Ben has been regularly cleaning Felixstowe’s beaches for over a year and has created a collection of art made from pieces of plastic, which he has painstakingly cleaned. Ben said:
“Every time I do a beach clean, I take all the items home and dispose of the rubbish. Anything that can be recycled, I clean and put in the appropriate bin. Any items which I think I can repurpose as art, I will clean, sort and store.
“I clean Felixstowe’s beaches because I enjoy our seaside and want others to enjoy it too and to keep coming back. But I’m also concerned how litter and plastic endangers wildlife, for example old balloons or plastic bags can be confused for jellyfish, which is common prey for a number of marine animals. Discarded fishing lines and shredded plastic can get tangled in legs or wings, which can lead to drowning.”
Ben wants his art collection to inspire Felixstowe’s residents and visitors to help keep the beaches clean, by taking part in the “2 Minute Beach Clean” campaign.
“I was first inspired to beach clean by the #2minutebeachclean campaign, which encourages anyone to spend just two minutes before they leave the beach, to pick up anything that shouldn’t be there.
“There are already lots of conscientious beachgoers, regular beachcleaners and organised beach cleans in Felixstowe, which is fantastic, and the local authorities are doing great work too. But we need to do more, we all need to take responsibility. Of course, if beach visitors disposed of their litter appropriately, that would be ideal. But failing that, if everyone who visited the beach, or takes their dog for a walk in the evening on the prom, did a 2 Minute Beach Clean, it would probably be spotless!”
Felixstowe Forward has recently arranged for Suffolk’s first “2 Minute Beach Clean” station to be installed at its Tourist Information beach hut, near the Pier. Visitors can collect a recycled carrier bag and litter picker from the station, to do their beach clean.
Ben will also be running a competition for a winner to receive a bespoke piece of his art. Ben will select a winner at random from anyone who posts a picture of themselves on social media doing a "2 Minute Beach Clean" on Sunday 3 September. Simply include the hashtags #2minutebeachclean and #Felixstowe in your post.
Art On The Prom takes place in Felixstowe from 10am to 4pm on Sunday 3 September 2017. Ben’s collection can be found at Stand 30 and can be seen on his website.
You can find out more information about #2minutebeachclean online.