Mr Percivals Ghost, 40th Alice Prize finalist, 2017
Handwoven fishingline, pelican skull, wire, fish hook
Way out in the Pacific Ocean an enormous, accidental monument to modern society has formed. Twice the size of France, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a kind of marine soup whose main ingredient is floating plastic debris. Floating beneath the surface of the water, to a depth of 10 metres, is a multitude of small plastic flecks and particles, in many colours, swirling like fish food.According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, 80 per cent of marine plastic is initially discarded on land. The wind blows plastic rubbish out of littered streets and landfills. It gets into rivers, streams and storm drains and then rides the tides and currents out to sea. Litter dropped by people at the beach is also a major source. Worldwide, plastic is killing a million seabirds a year, and 100,000 marine mammals, including turtles. It kills by entanglement, most commonly in discarded synthetic fishing lines and nets. Bottle caps, pocket combs, cigarette lighters, tampon applicators, cotton bud shafts, toothbrushes, toys, syringes and plastic shopping bags are routinely found in the stomachs of dead seabirds and turtles.