Lake Ontario Litter
Between May 10th - July 1st, 2017 our Love Your Lake volunteers picked up over 31,000 pieces of rigid plastic off the shores of Lake Ontario. Jennifer has sifted through all this plastic to carefully select pieces to be used in her Lake Ontario themed art pieces. Each piece tells a story that connects Lake Ontario, people, and litter. New pieces will be added monthly leading up to next year's Love Your Lake project beginning in May 2018.
A very special thank you to Jennifer Richardson, our art intern, for creating the beautiful work featured in this gallery.
What kind of impact does litter have on fish? Science and research are just starting to find out the answers. Fish (and other wildlife) often mistake plastic for food. Since plastic has an affinity for oil it often attracts toxic chemicals which stick to the plastic that is then consumed. The increased toxicity bioaccumulates inside the fish which means those further up the food chain (humans and wildlife) consume these toxins when eating fish. So here we have a plastic bottle cap fish. A total of 6,302 plastic bottle caps were picked up along the shore of Lake Ontario over just 8 weeks in 2017 by A Greener Future volunteers. It took some cunning and creativity to get this fish into it's completed form. The base is a piece of wire which was covered with paper mâché. Plastic bottle caps were then cut up and hot glued onto the paper mâché. There were a few colourful words while cutting up the caps but in the end our artist won this battle. Straws were painted green to create the bed of lettuce, with fishing line as a herb topping. The plastic fork was picked up at Ashbridges Bay in Toronto. The overall theme for this pieces is food and the impacts that litter may have on the food chain.
An Important Message In A Bottle
We go to the waterfront for many reasons. Lake Ontario holds strength, inspiration, and beauty. It's safe to say that the water is a place of solitude and joy for many. This canvas painting shows the beauty of the lake even with litter hidden beneath the surface. Plastic bags make up the water, straws lie under the beach front, and the tree is made out of cut up plastic pieces that have been painted and texturized. Within the beach sand you'll find debris, you might not spot it at first, but it's there, just like in reality. The message in a bottle is inspired by an actual event that took place in 2017. During a cleanup at Frenchman's Bay in Pickering a water bottle was found with a message in it. Rochelle sent a message to the writer who apologized for releasing the bottle as they hadn't considered it would end up being part of a beach cleanup. In the art piece the Greener Future mission is written on the parchment in the bottle. This is the message that needs to be adopted to help protect our lake, beaches, and surrounding environment. The overall theme for this piece is peace and tranquility as people often go to the water to seek relaxation and rejuvenation. Where will we go if this sacred space is polluted?
Nine million people rely on Lake Ontario for drinking water. So what exactly are we drinking when we take water out of the lake? With illegal dumping, raw sewage bypasses, and factory effluents going directly into the lake it's hard to determine how many chemicals, toxins, and microplastics might be in our drinking water. Our artists has created this drinking water mobile. Each bottle is filled with beach plastic and lake water. Hanging from drift wood by twine and wire, you'll see cutlery, bobbers, and fishing lures that were all found on the beaches of Lake Ontario. The piece is hanging by a piece of rope found in Ajax, Ontario. Some of the plastic pieces in the bottle include tampon applicators, straws, rope, utensils, packaging, shipping tags, a pen, shotgun shell wads, and unidentified pieces. The overall theme of this piece is drinking water and how it's contaminated by litter.
About Jennifer Richardson
Jennifer is a mother to a sassy three year old and an artist at heart. She does her art at night, without the distractions of motherhood, when her inner owl comes out. While she originally trained in aesthetics she found that it wasn't the career for her. Although, she's happy to visit a spa anytime. Jennifer is a happy traveller, and she'd love to travel more, maybe even get out and take a road trip in a winnebago somewhere. Visiting Prince Edward Island in 2017 was very inspiring for her, especially the hilltops and Anne of Green Gables. Art and photography are always on her mind as she's always seeking the opportunity for a good shot. Art keeps her mind busy and out of trouble and also pairs well with a nice glass of wine.
"I spend a little bit of time at the beach, it's too crowded. But when I do go to the beach I notice there is a lot of unnecessary garbage on the beach, especially after the weekend. When I see strange and interesting materials that have come from the shoreline the creative process blossoms and the idea goes from my head to my hands."