TURNING THE TIDE ON PLASTIC POLLUTION THROUGH ART

The global tide of ocean plastic pollution is an issue we campaign hard to address as part of our efforts to improve water quality. We’re always trying new ways to make people think about what they flush down the toilet so were keen to get involved in the work of environmental artist Diane Watson who makes beach rubbish into works of art.

As an active environmentalist and someone living on the coast at Hartlepool, Diane is acutely aware of the challenge we face in preventing plastic from getting into the water system.

Every day she walks our local beaches collecting a myriad of plastic items washed up by surge tides along the North East coast.

Her collection of thousands of plastic tops, toys, bottles, lighters and other discarded items are then used to create kaleidoscopic patterns, turning the mundane and thrown-away into works of art.

Explaining her work, Diane said: “Mother Nature is the last woman who would want us adding to the pollution of the planet. Plastic pollution of our seas is at an epidemic level with 8 million tonnes of plastic entering the sea every year.

“All of the plastic applicators used in my work have been collected from the beach, flushed down the toilet and washed into the sea. Let’s get empowered and start a conversation with our daughters, together we can put an end to this particular plastic pollution.”

We invited Diane to see for herself the workings of a pumping station when she contacted us to find out what gets discharged in the Hartlepool catchment. A team of our employees gave Diane a tour of Seaton Headworks pumping station and treatment works, highlighting the role we play in keeping our waterways and beaches clean and pollution free.

She was amazed by the size of our operation and the use of sophisticated technology to screen the sewage. We showed her the screen house and what we capture on a daily basis and she was shocked at the volume of rags and waste we have to deal with.

We explained our use of Advanced Anaerobic Digestion technology to harness gas from our processes, producing power from poo, and Diane left with a great impression of the work that goes into all of our processes to help protect the environment.

Seaton Headworks Manager Kevin Bouttell said: “As a company we are passionate about protecting the environment and we are always really keen to get this message across to our customers and local communities in any way that we can.

“Dianne’s work is fantastic and sends a powerful message about protecting the environment in a really creative way.”

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