In Early July I spent two weeks on holiday in Turkey. Every day I would pass the shimmering blue sea, so clear that you can see all the way to the coral and rocks buried deep underneath. There’s nothing like a swim in the Mediterranean followed by relaxing with a book in one hand and an ice cold drink in the other. The views in Turkey are priceless. Mountain ranges, high and wide, circling your view. And at night there are more stars than you can imagine, shining so brightly that each fleck of light is reflected off the sea. It’s these sights that make up a holiday.

Transforming the environment

One night I was out with my family and I discovered a single mesh sculpture the size of a small van that caught my eye. It was in the shape of a fish with a sign posted in front of it reading, ‘This is not garbage! No plastic. More green.’ The hollow sculpture was filled with plastic bottles. Never before had this holiday destination hinted at any awareness about environmental pollution or recycling.

 

But the sculpture wasn’t for display, it was encouraging people to put their plastic bottles inside to be collected and recycled later. As I looked around I began to notice a variety of other recycling bins planted all over the holiday destination. 

This caught my attention, and I was eager to know what had made this sudden change. Talking to the locals, I discovered that the sculpture was inspired by primary school children aged 8+. They wanted to acknowledge how plastics in the sea are affecting the beautiful creatures living in the Mediterranean. It didn’t take long for their imagination to turn into action. As a result the local Government showed an interest and the project was born.

Thoughtfully, the environmentally conscious children wanted to fund their eco-fish by creating their own homemade gifts to sell. The result has is an interactive work of art with a practical purpose and message.

A sea change

But the question is; do we want to see it full? It’s great to encourage locals and tourists to recycle, but shouldn’t there be a solution to completely eradicate plastic bottles in the first place? The UK has similarly been debating this question far and wide. Action is slowly being taken and it’s extraordinary to see this debate spreading across the globe.

The creation that I discovered in Turkey is just one example of a growing awareness. The government has said that if the eco-fish becomes successful, then others will be rolled out. Above all, the next generation is taking a lead in this environmental movement for change using art and imagination. With an imaginative mind and a creative hand, a simple idea can transform into a life changing one.