New Zealand artist George Nuku created an installation that shows what the world’s oceans will look like in 100 years when plastic has completely changed marine life.

Nuku’s project is called Bottled Ocean 2122 and is being exhibited at the Theseus Temple in Austria. The plastic project is running together with the rest of his exhibition, Oceans. Collections. Reflections, at the Weltmuseum in Vienna until October 9.

Over the last three months, Nuku tasked 170 volunteers with helping crate Bottled Ocean 2122 to raise awareness about plastic pollution and how it affects the ocean and marine life. The Māori artist’s work shows how the undersea world will be filled with plastic bottles and Styrofoam if we don’t work towards a sustainable future as soon as possible.

Nuku is a member of the Māori Ngati Kahungunu and Tuwharetoa peoples of New Zealand, and he moved to England in 2005. He had his first solo exhibition at The Captain Cook Birthplace Museum in Middlesborough, England.

Nuku wants his visitor to see the plastic not as garbage but rather as valuable, beautiful, and sacred materials. Bottled Ocean 2122 shows a subsea temple with Māori deities that represent air, earth, fire, wind, and sea. Plastic animals like jellyfish, stingrays, and sharks swim around the plastic coral reefs.

In a statement, Nuku said that his project takes place 100 years from now when “Sea life is turning into plastic mutant species. Marine debris and anemones are made of colorful plastic bottle caps.”

Nuku said, “Through my Māori heritage, I seek to reshape our relationship with our environment. Ultimately, pollution itself is sacred, like everything in our world.”

“Plastic bottles, representing light and water, the source of life itself, are a treasure and a testament to divinity. It’s not too late to change our relationship with our environment and move closer to the plastic that permeates every aspect of our lives today.”

Globally, we produce 300 million tons of plastic every year, 78 percent of which is NOT reclaimed or recycled. Around  8.8 million tons of plastic get dumped into the oceans every year! 700 marine animals are faced with extinction due to the threat that plastic poses to them in the form of entanglement, pollution, and ingestion. 50 percent of sea turtles have plastic in their stomachs. By 2050, 99 percent of all seabird species will have ingested plastic waste. According to a study by the World Economic Forum, there will be one tonne of plastic for every three tonnes of fish by 2025, and if things go on business as usual, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.

Read more about how companies like Facebook, Tupperware, Google, Dove,  Budweiser, Carlsberg, and FIJI Water are working towards reducing plastic pollution. Places around the world like Tel Aviv, California, Baltimore, Scotland, and many more are banning various single-use plastics, and others are coming up with creative ways to recycle and use plastic waste.

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter, and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeadsSign this petition to demand the end of the single-use plastics killing whales and damaging our oceans!

To learn more about the impact of plastic waste, please read the articles below: 

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