UK, D-Cast help students learn how to mitigate plastic pollution

The workshop aimed to use art to connect with young people, raise awareness of the issue, change behavior towards plastic pollution and protect marine life.

Supported by the British High Commission in Honiara together with the British Council and the Dreamcast Theater Solomon Islands, pupils aged between 9 and 11 worked remotely with renowned British artist Mandy Barker to create works of art from everyday plastics. Her artwork will be on display at the Dreamcast Theater Art Hub beginning Tuesday, October 18.

Plastics can be harmful to both humans and marine biodiversity once used and dumped into our waterways, streams and river systems. While some are recyclable, others are not, and unfortunately, most waste on land often ends up in our oceans.

Single-use plastics can be seen lining the drains, roads, beaches, streams and rivers in the city of Honiara. Although Honiara City Council has made significant waste management efforts, more needs to be done to raise awareness of the issue and prevent plastic pollution.

For this reason, a group of students from schools in Honiara come together to create an art exhibition at the Dreamcast Theater that turns plastic waste into art.

Under the motto “Our Ocean and Plastics”, the workshop aims to use art to connect with young people and raise awareness of the issue of changing behavior towards plastic pollution and increasing marine biodiversity on the planet protect Solomon Islands.

Mandy Barker is an international award-winning photographer whose work with marine plastic has gained global recognition over the past 12 years.

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Working with marine scientists, Mandy’s artwork aims to raise awareness of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans and highlight the harmful effects it has on marine life and ourselves.

Nicola Noble, Acting British High Commissioner for Solomon Island, said:

I am delighted that the UK is partnering with Dreamcast Theater to support this special Ocean Plastics programme. Over eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s oceans every year, posing serious threats to marine life.

This workshop offers children in Honiara a unique opportunity to work remotely with Mandy Barker to raise awareness of this important issue through creative arts. I am really looking forward to seeing the children’s creations at the art show on Tuesday and thank everyone involved in this important work.

The workshop was developed as a result of discussions between the British High Commission in Honiara, the British Council in New Zealand, Aotearoa and the Dreamcast Theater Group and is funded by the UK Climate Diplomacy Fund.

Natasha Beckman, Director of the British Council New Zealand and the Pacific said:

British Council New Zealand and the Pacific are delighted to be collaborating on this project with the British High Commission, Honiara and the Dreamcast Theater Group, as well as school children aged 9-11 in the Solomon Islands.

We need our children to be aware of the plastic pollution problem but also to help them find creative ways to deal with the problem. Our children are our future and it is crucial to equip them with the right knowledge about plastic pollution and its impact on marine biodiversity.

Meanwhile, British artist Mandy Barker attended the two-day workshop virtually via Zoom and was looking forward to working with children in the Solomon Islands. She said:

It is a pleasure to be involved in such a unique opportunity, connecting across the ocean from the UK to the Solomons. To be able to share my work, raise awareness and educate young people about the problem of plastic pollution in a place that desperately needs help is an honor. I hope it will make a difference in the community and inspire change.

About 30 school children from Koloale, Coronation, Perch, Tuvarufu and the Honiara Integrated Community Schools in Honiara attended the workshop. They had the opportunity to listen to Mandy Barker about creating art from plastic waste. The students used plastic waste collected from the beach in Honiara to create artworks for the exhibition.

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Her finished artworks will be on display at the Dreamcast Theater Art Hub in China Town starting in the afternoon of October 18 (Tuesday) and will be open to the public for a week. A film and other informational materials will also be produced during the workshop and put online for the whole world to see.

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