The global awareness of ocean plastic pollution has increased exponentially in the last 5 years. Largely due to a perfect storm of events and movements - International environmental NGOs and individual activists’ tireless efforts in raising awareness, multinational companies jumping on the sustainability bandwagon, announcing either investments to redesign their products and supply chain, and the media industry on seeing more interest in environmental issues in the wake of the sustainability wave - spawned many new environment-focused news portals as well as independent actors such as , social media influencers, artists, technologist and venture capitalists - this has created new found interest in scientific research in ocean plastic.
The emergence of COVID-19 dramatically changed the realities of the global socio-political landscape in less than 6 months. The anti-plastic agenda was not spared. Pro-plastic trade associations and interest groups were accused of taking advantage of the fear of contacting the COVID-19 virus through touch transmission of everyday goods. They lobbied for single-use plastic bans in cities to be suspended or delayed indefinitely. In the US, states like New York,
Massachusetts, Maine and Oregon announced the deferment of similar state laws, and required all grocers to adhere to a temporary transition to single-use bags. With movement controls and lockdowns implemented in major cities across the world, many restaurants and food outlets were forced to shut, leading to more home cooking and grocery shopping. That in turn caused an increase in plastic-bag carriers and food packaging for take-away and home delivery services, adding even more stress to the world’s waste management systems. In places where communities are ill-equipped to handle daily waste, illegal dumping takes place. Rivers and coastal areas often become the convenient sites for dumping waste as locals depend on the tide and currents to make the trash ‘disappear’. But we now know non-biodegradable waste like plastic lives in the ocean for a long time, and it has found its way back to us in our seafood.
“Delicious Seafood Everyday” is a take on how ocean plastic reappears in our lives through the seafood we consume - microplastics and nanoplastics have been found and verified in a range of seafood by several scientific studies.
Considering the current state of lockdown measures, the artist has designed a virtual seafood shopping experience that takes the shopper right to the sea. Offering a reality of how our food from the sea is coping in their natural environment that is littered with non-biodegradable waste - from cheap plastic household items to single-use plastic packaging. The site depicted is a river mouth leading to Johor straits where fishing activities and fish farms are located.
This work offers a sneak into the current reality, one that offers plastic packaging with our seafood on both the outside and the inside.