Thirza Schaap, a Dutch photographer and visual artist, combines a critical environmentally-conscious message with… the surprising quality of being aesthetically pleasing. The artist’s Instagram feed is a beautiful spread of pastel colors and intricate designs, but the message she is conveying through the compositions is far from delicate and unassuming.

Schaap’s goal when it comes to the project is to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the oceans. Based in Cape Town, South Africa, the artist curates an Instagram page “Plastic Ocean” as well as a Facebook page fittingly named “Catch of the Day,” both featuring an array of innovative photographs meaning to draw our attention to the plastic waste crisis.


The artworks Schaap displays are mostly delicately constructed and set against pretty backgrounds in soft light…


…but the make-up of the arrangements is what makes the pictures what they are.

The works are created from pieces of trash – from discarded plastic flip-flops to old plastic straws.

To make the compositions, Schaap scours the Clifton Beach in Cape Town and collects the thrown away items that are about to get a second life.

The artist’s work is pretty – without a doubt – but it is very disturbing in its prettiness.



More awareness is what the burning issue of plastic pollution certainly needs. Every year, we throw around 8.8 million tons of plastic waste into the oceans. There, it pollutes the waters virtually forever, causing countless deaths of marine animals through entanglement and ingestion. The scale of the plastic crisis is huge – but each of us can influence it. And we can choose to influence it in a positive way.

This Instagram feed is doing great work to help educate people about the realities of this crisis – and it’s up to all of us to help spread that message. Follow Thirza Schaap on Instagram here, and follow her lead by making an effort to talk about plastic with your friends and family.


To learn how to use less plastic in your everyday life, check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign!

All image source: Plastic Ocean/Instagram