The world’s largest crochet plastic sea turtle began life as an idea a short time after artist Annie Hsiao-Wen Wang had moved to Thailand, witnessing first hand the destruction of marine habitats
through plastic pollution, over-fishing, poor marine management, ocean acidification and the impacts of global warming.
“Walking along any beach in Thailand you very quickly become aware of just how much trash gets washed up on the shoreline. Looking around we noticed everyone seemed happy just to leave this rubbish lying there. Everywhere we looked, plastic bottles and cups, disposable bags and the odd flip-flop were just laying there.” says Annie. “My husband, Mark, was the first to react and just started cleaning the beaches. He would say, how could people just sit without doing anything?”.
The beach cleaning continued and often they were joined by friends and colleagues. Soon regular trips to the outer islands began. To their surprise, on these remote places they discovered literally tons of rubbish. Mainly fishing nets and other plastic detritus either left behind by tourists or washed up from some other part of the world.
For many months, they cleaned their local beach every week and made monthly trips to the outer islands. But for Annie, this wasn’t enough. “Simply picking up rubbish is an endless task, we need to address the actual problem.” This was when she decided to make an artwork to help raise awareness of the dire state of the ocean and to try and help save her favourite animal, the sea turtle.
The sea turtle project has taken almost 2 years from planning to completion. The material selected, which is 100% waste plastic. This was important as it is the very material that is responsible for so many deaths ever year. Sourced from local industries as well as from friends, it was surprisingly easy to collect. Annie designed the crochet pattern for the turtle and the giant crochet hook was made from driftwood found on the beach.
The Finished Article
With the turtle now complete, it weighs nearly 200 kgs, measures over 4m long, and is the World’s largest crochet plastic turtle. Watch the video below and watch artist Annie making the turtle from start to finish.
Where is Turtle Now?
You can track the whereabouts and news reports of turtle on the Turtle Tour web page.
From a recent article, ‘are things spiralling out of control‘, there are estimated to be around 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the oceans. Every year an additional 6 million tonnes of plastic waste is dumped. Every single year, millions of birds and sea creatures are killed by this and other pollutants.
“Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as Endangered. Slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells, sea turtles suffer from poaching and over-exploitation. They also face habitat destruction and accidental capture in fishing gear. Climate change has an impact on turtle nesting sites. It alters sand temperatures, which then affects the sex of hatchlings.” – Source: WWF.
Annie had one final thing to say, “Please help our turtles and sea life by saying ‘no’ to disposable plastics, especially coffee cups, bags, cutlery, straws, etc. Try to be more aware of your actions because if each of us takes responsibility then we can change things for the better.”
We too hope that you will help the turtles by spreading this message and doing your best to make a difference however you can.
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