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The Rife Team

Plastic where plastic shouldn’t be

Belle explores the negative consequences surrounding excessive plastic waste through this photo series

I was motivated by our climate and the negative consequences that excessive plastic waste has on it. Whilst I was out recording a short documentary and collecting B-roll, I came up with this concept after spotting plastic where plastic shouldn’t be during lockdown. I became aware of the shocking number of masks hung from trees, plastic bottles in the river, crisp packets on the floor, and so on. I was taken aback. These lovely sights had been tarnished by the horrible trash and garbage!

This sparked the idea for me to create a photo series aimed at 18–25- year-olds. My aim is to raise awareness among young people, showing them that they can and should make a difference! The pictures depict plastic in places where it shouldn’t be for young people in relatable, everyday circumstances to put things into perspective as to where things are headed.

I wanted to emphasise denial and reality

Instead of developing pictures to depict animal or environmental devastation, I wanted to emphasise denial and reality. By creating a barrier in a young person’s daily life, to put concerns into perspective. I used the harsh plastics that I discovered to contrast with relatable surroundings or parts of a young person’s daily life.

This is meant to be shocking and to emphasise that “Plastic is where plastic shouldn’t be” and that it will only become worse if we don’t all do something about it. Young people often may believe they can’t make a difference or that their actions won’t make a difference, which is why I made it specifically for this demographic in mind, hoping to capture attention in settings that are both familiar and distinctive to a young person’s daily life.

35mm film was used to capture these images

Where would you not want your plastic?

Isn’t it true that we all use plastic in some way? But have you considered where your unused bottles, lids, packets, and wrappers end up?

Take a walk in your neighbourhood and witness how much plastic is littering the ground, endangering our wildlife, landscapes, and ecosystem. If we all made a conscious effort to use as many glass bottles as possible, reuse our plastic bags, reusable masks, shop more responsibly, and actively participate, the world would be a better place. We can only succeed if we work together.

Before we buy excessive non-biodegradable goods, we should ask ourselves, “Do I really need this?” Our earth is wonderful, yet it is slowly being destroyed. We must act! Our rivers are being polluted, causing eco-systems to suffer. The garbage is endangering the environment and wildlife. Our rivers, lakes, and oceans should not be ravaged by plastic. Imagine relaxing in a nice bath after a long day at work, only to discover that it is full of filthy plastic rubbish. Imagine going about your regular routine and being stymied by our own collective decisions to ignore the climate crisis. Imagine getting your takeout after a night out and finding it contaminated with hazardous plastic. In a lifetime, ‘the average person consumes 40 pounds of plastic’. Particles can enter our water via plastic bottles, food, and the air. Let’s not be oblivious and face reality before things go out of hand and more plastic ends up where it shouldn’t.

Have you thought about your plastic use? Let us know on our socials!

Photos by Isabelle Osorio