Our Lady of the Gyre

Our Lady of the Gyre rises from the ocean to plead for us to stop the destruction of her oceans. There are five major gyres in oceans around the world. They are natural currents that act like a giant whirlpool drawing water in and then out again in a cyclic fashion. what has happened in recent decades is the amount of plastic entering the oceans has increased exponentially, and the floating mass of plastic is drawn into these gyres, forming gigantic, floating garbage patches. The largest and most well known is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It weighs around 7 million tons. It is estimated that by 2050 the biomass of the oceans will be equalled by the mass of plastic in the oceans.Plastic thrown in the ocean kills around 1 million sea creatures every year. Around 13 billion plastic bottles are thrown out each year. Every piece of plastic ever made, still exists today.

Our Lady of the Gyre was made from 'ghost nets' found along the isolated south-western coast of Tasmania. These are nets loosed from fishing boats and left in the oceans, not only causing a hazard to marine life, but being synthetic, like plastic, photodegrade, and break down into smaller and smaller pieces, then eventually tiny polymers. These polymers don't break down any further, but instead, absorb many times their weight in petrochemicals found in the oceans. These polluted polymers are then ingested by marine life, where the chemicals then release into their systems causing serious health problems or death. We humans are at the top off this food chain, and polymers and pollutants are already entering our  own systems.

Photograph by Luke Bowden

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