shui hau is a very special beach in hong kong: walking along the shore line mudskippers seemingly run on top of the water and make my children scream with excitement. fiddler crabs flash their bright red claws, mangroves grow in abundance and in its shallow waters horse-shoe crabs live. horse-shoe crabs are living fossils, having been around for 450 million years. shui hau is a rich habitat for wild life and is largely ignored by tourists except nature photographers and kite-surfers.
and even though there are so few people to be seen on this beach, the human impact is overwhelming and shocking: hundred meters of shoreline are polluted with waste washed in by the last typhoon. the mangroves are covered in plastic bags and fishing ropes, looking like decorated christmas trees. in the undergrowth styrofoam boxes and their remnants are piling up knee-deep. even though i'm living just 20 minutes away from this beach i did not know about this situation until someone posted a picture on facebook. so i went and had a look myself. the first impression was that of a 'river of rubbish': the rubbish was trapped between the mangroves and the natural tree line. that in itself being awful enough the thought that all of this rubbish is usually washed back into the ocean made me feel sick. tons and tons of plastic are circling in the world oceans, poisoning waters, killing sea life and ultimately getting back into our food-chain.
as an artist i don't have a solution at hand. i only know a solution for myself, for the sickness that i feel when seeing nature being abused. and that is action. awareness. and art. it converts my anxiety and my anger into something visible and positive. it brings people and community together. it makes us feel good and heals nature. and by doing so it heals ourselves.
river of rubbish / 垃圾之河
shui hau, lantau, hong kong 2014 / 水口,大嶼山 2014
No.11 of the series trash-land-art / 「垃圾山水」系列 – 作品11
by liina klauss
all items on this photo are waste washed ashore. they have been collected on one single beach within 24h by 80 people. colours are neither manipulated manually nor digitally. the reality of pollution you see has merely been rearranged.