What killed The Whale
My sculptural piece “What killed the Whale” otherwise know as Rusty the Whale is a replica of a sperm whale that washed ashore in spain having died from plastic ingestion. Rusty has been travelling around a number of exhibitions and visiting festivals in the hope of raising awareness to issues surrounding marine litter and plastic pollution.
What Killed The Whale?
In the UK alone 275,000 tons of plastic are used every year, that’s about 15 million bottles per day. The average family throws away about 40kg of recyclable plastic per year (recyclingguide.org.uk, 2014).
Approximately 1500 bottles end up in landfills and the ocean every second (Safebottles, 2010). A plastic bottle may persist in the marine environment for up to 450 years. Every year more than 100 000 marine mammals and 1 million sea birds will die from ingesting or becoming entangled in litter (Surfers Against Sewage, 2013).
In March 2013 a 10 meter long sperm whale washed up on a beach in Spain with over 37 pounds of plastic in its stomach and as such died from intestinal blockage. It is not a rare occurrence for whales to die due to entanglement or ingestion of marine plastics and according to a recent scientific report this problem is rising by up to 40% for all marine wildlife (Thompson, 2013). Therefore I have created this sculpture from 907 plastic bottles to replicate this whale and to remind us of how it died and how by changing our attitude to plastic consumption we can prevent marine wildlife from suffering like this in the future.
I hope that from viewing this sculpture you will consider your own plastic consumption and the use of single use plastics.