|Pelican Pete at Shem Creek, Mt. Pleasant, S.C.|
From the tires at the base of the sculpture, to his bottle-capped beak, Pete the Pelican is covered by marine trash to raise awareness of the ever-growing problem of marine debris and how it affects local waterways and sea life.The top six items listed on the International Coastal Cleanup’s 2011 Marine Debris report include cigarettes, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bags, caps, food wrappers and plastic dinnerware.
Pete provides a glimpse of the trash that pervades coastal waterways. Trash that gets into the ocean eventually ends up ashore or trapped in ocean currents in a huge whirlpool created by converging currents. These current convergences, or gyres, are places where garbage and wildlife both gather. Mixed with the seaweed are fragments of plastic which can entangle and hurt wildlife. When the plastic degrades and becomes brittle, it breaks down into smaller particles that are ingested by wildlife.