Some people have the special ability to turn a tragic situation into something amazing. Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey is one of those people.
Clottey takes discarded plastic jugs that litter the streets of Ghana and transforms them into stunning artwork. Using the blue, yellow, and white plastic jugs, known locally as “Kufuor gallons, which were once used to transport water during Ghana’s droughts, Clottey assembles beautiful plastic tapestries. He’s been gathering the containers for more the 15 years. By cutting them into small tiles and moulding and binding them together, Clottey creates “paint-less paintings.” His tapestries also include other pieces of waste, like e-waste, wood, and more.
These jugs have invaded city streets and beyond. Clottey uses his art to draw attention to the issue and educate his community about pollution and waste. The plastic not only blocks sewers but endangers wildlife habitats as well.
With over 300 million tons of plastic materials coming into circulation every year, Clottey’s artistic vision and dedication to raising awareness is more important than ever. Sadly, only 85 percent of the world’s plastic is not recycled, which means a whole lot of plastic waste – 8.8 million tons, in fact – makes its way from land to the oceans every single year.
Currently, around 700 marine species are faced with extinction due to the threat plastic poses to them from entanglement, pollution, and ingestion, making Clottey’s work ever more urgent.
But Clottey’s artwork doesn’t only speak to the issue of plastic pollution. The discarded plastic gallons are a reminder of a water-less past and the endless cycle of water shortages in Ghana. “Every second across the world, someone leaves a faucet running, takes a long shower, or pours out some unwanted water. Every day in Ghana – where not everyone has access to running water – the streets are filled with children carrying yellow buckets on their heads, on their way to a fountain,” he said.
Clottey’s incredible work speaks to the intersectionality of many of the environmental issues plaguing the planet, like the connection between plastic pollution and water shortages. If you’re inspired by Clottey’s story and work, you can visit his website by clicking here. And if you happen to live in San Francisco, Clottey is exhibiting his work until 30 April at Ever Gold Projects,
What Can YOU Do?
We can all join Clottey in his mission to reduce plastic waste through our everyday actions. While efforts are being made to remove debris from the oceans, improve recycling systems, and innovate barriers to prevent plastic from getting into waterways, we can all take action in our daily lives to stop plastic waste at the source.
“Plastic is ubiquitous in modern society and seemingly unavoidable. But is it worth risking the lives of marine species, the health of the oceans and our own future in the name of convenience? By taking steps to minimize everyday plastics in our lives, we can crush plastic at the source and give marine life a fighting chance,” says Nil Zacharias, Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief of One Green Planet.
If we all make an effort to identify where we use plastic and actively look for alternatives, we can drastically cut down on the amount of plastic pollution that finds its way into the oceans.
As the leading organization at the forefront of the conscious consumerism movement, One Green Planet believes that reducing everyday plastics from our lives is not about giving up anything or sacrificing convenience, but rather learning to reap the maximum benefit from the items you use every day while having the minimum impact.
Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.
All Image Source: Serge Attukwei Clottey