CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – Swimming in the sea is something we certainly want to tick off our vacation bucket lists at some point. But have you ever wondered what swimming in a polluted ocean is like?
That’s exactly what this installation in Xavier University (XU) wants you to experience.
Spearheaded by the McKeough Marine Center (MMC), plastic waste dangling from the ceiling of the XU’s Science Center simulates what marine life see as they live in polluted seas.
In sight, in mind
Janell Sihay, a technical assistant in MMC, emphasized that the aim of their initiative is to evoke strong feelings from and to enlighten the Xavier community on water-related issues such as declining water quality associated with plastic pollution.
Visitors who check out the installation are also encouraged to write their personal pledges to protect nature.
The exhibit takes inspiration from other similar installations, such as the one set up by Singaporean artist Tan Zi Xi in Mumbai, India, albeit MMC’s version is significantly smaller in scale.
“Little lang siya nga installation kay ‘di ba ang [issue sa] dagat kung out of sight, out of mind? Kung dal-on nimo siya diri, bisag fleeting pa ang awareness [about the issue of pollution], at least naa,” Sihay said.
(It’s only a small installation. The issues involving oceans are usually regarded as “out of sight, out of mind,” right? When we bring it here, even if awareness [about the issue of pollution] is fleeting, at least it’s there.)
While the exhibit has clearly been effective in sending its message within the campus and even on social media, one can’t help but wonder what will happen to the plastics used in its creation once it is taken down.
Sihay affirmed that the materials used in creating the installation will not ironically end up in our seas. The single-use plastics and plastic bottles they borrowed from the university’s Materials Recovery Facility will be returned for proper waste management.
On the other hand, the sheets of paper used for the pledges will be shredded and composted to be used in a mini garden. Other reusable parts of the installation such as nylon lines and nets will be kept for future use.
This installation is part of the celebration of XU’s Social Development Week with the theme “Water: Ecosystems and Social Development – Issues and Initiatives.” It will run from January 21 to 25. – Rappler.com
Maria Victoria Tenido Te is a Rappler mover in Cagayan de Oro City. She is a Grade 12 student of Xavier University – Ateneo de Cagayan and the editor-in-chief of The Squire Publication.
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