Inspirational people: eco-artist Renata turns litter into art
PUBLISHED: 15:07 29 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 29 July 2019
Picture: Renata Arnold
Enjoy Exmouth More catches up with Renata Arnold who is turning people's discarded rubbish on Exmouth beach into sea creature mosaics to highlight the problems of plastic pollution.
Exeter based eco-artist Renata Arnold, 35, talks about her visits to Exmouth to collect litter at the beach and Manor Gardens for her artwork.
She said: "I make mosaics out of rubbish that I find during litter-picks around Exmouth and Exeter. I like to make sea creatures because the sea is where all this litter ends up, harming the water and wildlife. I put the mosaics together at home in my flat, usually on the kitchen floor.
"I wouldn't say that I am an accomplished artist; I only share my artwork via social media, but it'd be nice to do something like a presentation to help spread awareness of the issue further. Once I've finished with the mosaics I put the (thoroughly-cleaned) litter into Tupperware boxes and put them aside to use in future designs I come up with. Quite a bit will also go into recycling to reduce the amount of litter in my flat!"
Renata explains why she picks up litter in Exmouth: "I've been doing these litter-picks for about a year now and the main reason is because I care about the environment. What started it all off was a voluntary three-day litter pick in any location, suggested on Facebook by 'Keep Britain Tidy'.
"I try to pick up litter everyday, especially in the summer when the plastic pollution is at its worse.
"I often find a lot of alcoholic-drink bottles and cans around Manor Gardens and I can expect to discover plastic/Styrofoam takeaway cups, straws, cutlery and confectionery packets on the beach and esplanade.
"Seeing rubbish all over areas of outstanding natural beauty really appals me. Devon is such a lovely place and Exmouth beach is probably the county's loveliest - along with its neighbour Orcombe - with its golden sands and rainbow of colours. I want to see it kept beautiful and litter free."
Renata highlights the scale of the litter problem: "It can sometimes be quite tricky to identify litter on the beach because it can look like seaweed or long shells. I was especially appalled on one occasion when I found a syringe on the beach. At other times I have retrieved various types of netting, which could potentially cause unnecessary suffering to wildlife.
"It's shocking just how much rubbish can be found in a short space of time. I normally end up filling one or two large Bags for Life from each visit. I always see a lot more litter but I am limited by what I can carry as I have to travel by bus."
This is Renata's message to the people of Exmouth and its visitors: "The message I want to get across from my litter-picking and mosaic art is that the planet is suffering.
"My suggestions to reduce plastic pollution at the beach are for the public to bring lidded Tupperware to stop litter spilling out and blowing away. Don't use instant barbecue trays - I have found a lot of these on the beach, which is dangerous to walkers and wildlife alike. Buy coned ice creams rather than wrapped ones.
"Take your rubbish home with you, dispose of it carefully and leave nothing but footprints in the sand."