South Coast Fever

Life-size plastic dolphin highlights waste problem

Fever Local News | The life-size dolphin is currently hanging at The Earth Shed in Southbroom, and is available to view.

Artist Keith Gait-Smith’s ‘plastic beach waste dolphin’ highlights the threats to the environment and questions its survival under growing pressure.

Keith from Paddock spent at least 200 hours on the piece, which contains between 50kg to 60kg of plastic collected from six local beaches: Tweni, Uvongo, Ramsgate, Southbroom, Trafalgar and Palm Beach.

The life-size dolphin is currently hanging at The Earth Shed in Southbroom and is available to view.

The ‘shell’ of the dolphin is made from galvanized wire mesh which Keith manipulated and bound together with wire. The wire sculpture was then carefully filled with the sanitised beach waste and hot glued in places to stay together.

An astonishing amount of beach waste has gone into this life-sized three-metre dolphin sculpture.
Keith originally started the project to deal with the trash collected on his weekly beach visits and to create a public sculpture which could address the beach waste in a creative way, generate awareness about the gigantic problem for local conservancies and promote the coast’s beautiful beaches.

He and his partner Bonita spend a lot of time outdoors and as a result, have become huge advocates for the environment and its preservation.

The couple’s visits to the beach for a walk, to catch some rays or swim and surf end with them returning to their car with a load of plastic and other waste they have collected.

His vision is to continue to create similar sculptures to draw traffic to the South Coast’s beaches and address the issue of pollution through creativity.

“My ultimate dream is to create a suspended life-size underwater scene of the Sardine Run. It would include a few apex predators and sea birds surrounding a bait ball. All the creatures would be constructed from beach waste,” he said.

Keith thanked everyone who has engaged with his sculpture so far.

He hopes it serves as a reminder to everyone to be mindful of the environment and the real-life problems it faces, many by human hands. “But we can lend our hands in an effort to resolve it.”

Follow Keith’s artistic journey on his Facebook page: Nature’s Kraft

Statistics of the waste inside the dolphin:
90 litres – polystyrene and foam
70 litres – hard plastic
69 – bottle caps (plastic and metal)
62 – plastic bottles (beverages, soft drinks, water, milk)
39 – footwear (flip flops, crocs, sandals, trainers, soles)
16 – sucker sticks
10 – plastic bags and wrappers
9 – lighters
9 – container lids
7 – medicine containers and pills
7 – roll-on bottles
6 – toothbrushes
6 – plastic utensils
5 – tin cans (soft drinks and alcohol)
5 – shampoo bottles
4 – candles
4 – plastic containers (food)
4 – corks
3 – bait containers
3 – stationery
3 – straws
3 – toys
2 – lipstick
2 – light bulbs
2 – spray bottles
1 – baby sip-cup
1 – comb
1 – fishing line and weight
1 – deodorant
1 – make-up
1m – rope
Some 2kg of broken glass was also collected but excluded from the piece.


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