Australia’s Aboriginal Tribe is Recycling Discarded Fishing Nets Into Artworks
The Pormpuraaw community has been recycling marine plastic into sculptural works to spread awareness about the impacts of marine plastic waste
I have always believed that aboriginal people and tribal communities can play a vital role in safeguarding nature as they have been living in close proximity to the natural world and in harmony. One such inspirational story has come to light where Australia’s aboriginal tribe, Pormpuraaw is dedicated to recycling discarded fishing nets and other ocean plastic into sculptural works. These creations are a reflection of the culture, traditions, and values of these tribal communities.
Australia is home to over 250 different aboriginal tribes who consider land and animals to be sacred and treat them as equals. By recycling marine plastic, the Pormpuraaw community has been trying to draw the world’s attention to the impact of plastic waste in oceans.
The coastline of Pormpuraaw County has been infected by marine pollution and one can find seabirds and sea turtles wrapped in discarded plastic items such as fishing nets. Commercial fishers usually discard old and useless fishing nets in the sea, which is, directly and indirectly, responsible for the killing, maiming, or harming of over 200 species of the sea in Australia.
Sid Bruce Shortjoe is a Pormpuraaw artist whose ghost net art is on display in @dfat atrium #DFATNAIDOC #NAIDOC2016 pic.twitter.com/a6g0p0n1nH
— National Museum of Australia (@nma) July 5, 2016
Now, this one community is reclaiming those nets and instead of burning or dumping them in landfills, these nets are being recycled and used to create sculptural works by the community’s artists. The community cleans the Gulf of Carpentaria and Torres Straits to protect the land and the sea.
The artists make big marine animals from plastic waste, including crocodile figures, fish, turtles, jellyfish, and seabirds. The art of weaving plastic comes as a brilliant surprise. Other waste items such as copper wire, aluminum offcuts, steel bars, floatation devices, worn-out drag nets, and old ropes are also being recycled to make sculptures.
The artworks of the community have made quite an impact on the neighboring communities. It has helped bring awareness about the effects of plastic waste on marine life. The story of Australia’s aboriginal tribe recycling discarded fishing nets also known as ghost nets is really inspiring. Hopefully, this community built on principles of sustainability, recycling, and eco-friendly elements of living in harmony with nature will inspire us all to do something worthwhile with our lives without disrupting the ecosystems.