Patrick’s project sheds light on damage to marine life

A teenager from Rosslare has created an art exhibit that highlights an issue of growing concern to all who live in coastal communities. Patrick Roche is part of the Leaving Cert Applied (LCA) group at Wexford Youthreach and for his project on a contemporary issue he has chosen to focus on the impact of ocean pollution on marine life around the world. During his research, Patrick discovered cases of whales stranded on beaches in places as far away as Indonesia and Thailand, and closer to home in Italy and Scotland.

No matter where they were, all of the whales had one thing in common: They each ingested pounds of plastic in the water, which ultimately led to their deaths. A dead sperm whale that washed up on a Scottish beach had more than 220 pounds of tangled nets, ropes, plastic and other debris in its stomach, according to a local whale research group. A gravid whale washed up on the Italian coast with 22 kg of plastic in its stomach with the fetus was in an advanced state of composition.

So, together with his engineering professor Martin Wickham, Patrick set out to create something that would highlight the damage to whales and all marine life. Using an angle grinder and a drill, he welded and painted a metal whale, which he pictured plunging into a bed of plastic. His project was so good that it was proudly on display at the Wexford Library during the holiday season, a fitting tribute for a work of art that underlines the importance of protecting our marine environment.


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