Benjamin Wong wanted to know how you get people to talk about something ordinary, ugly and boring.
“From experience I know that the internet loves to see things that are extravagant, unique and different,” said the San Francisco based artist – who is known for his surrealist photo style.
But he worried that when it comes to important issues, these often take a backseat to whatever is unique, shocking or beautiful on the net.
That’s why Benjamin decided to create a photo series that highlighted the wasteful nature of our approach to plastics - but with a shareable nature.
“By 2050, there will be more plastics than fish in the sea,” Benjamin tells viewers.
“But we can change that.”
He created a series of stunning images, using 10,000 plastic bottles, a willing mermaid and some seriously stellar photo skills.
The results are wonderful, but they have a darker message, too.
“[I wanted] to make the boring topic of plastic pollution more shareable,” says Wong.
The “mermaids hate plastic” series comes with a pledge – asking individuals to choose non disposable items, reduce the amount of plastics in their lives and share the message with friends.
“Do it for the planet, for your children... and for the mermaids,” writes Benjamin, who also asks consumers to "vote with their wallets."
Ban on Microbeads in NZ imminent
Environment Minister Nick Smith announced on Monday that New Zealand would soon ban microbeads – tiny plastic beads that are often used in cosmetic and household cleaning products.
It’s hoped that by next July the new law could be in force – which would mean a fine of up to $100K if companies ignored it.
This comes after other larger countries announced plans to ban microbeads, including the US and UK.
"The use of plastic microbeads in personal care products like facial cleansers and toothpaste makes no sense when there are biodegradable alternatives like apricot kernels and groundnut products that achieve the same results," Smith said.
Microbeads used in crucial medical products would be exempt from the ban.
You can see a list of products available in New Zealand that contain microbeads here, though this may not be exhaustive.