Community news and investigative journalism for Wapping E1W and Tower Hamlets London

This is rubbish! ‘Future Dust’ installation highlights Thames litter problem

By on September 3, 2017 in Environment, News, Tower Hamlets

Maria Arceo’s ‘Future Dust’ installation is made from plastic washed up on the River Thames foreshore and exposes the growing litter problem: a familiar sight to us here in Wapping.

The installation, 'Future Dust' by Maria Arceo is illuminated at night in front of Tower Bridge on the River Thames.

The installation, ‘Future Dust’ by Maria Arceo is illuminated at night in front of Tower Bridge on the River Thames.

 

Beautifully illuminated at night, the plastic artwork will tour sites along the Thames during September and from 8th to 13th September can be seen locally in the St Katharine Docks marina [view all locations]

Many Londoners never engage with the river

Wapping’s own history is rooted firmly in the River Thames – from the riverside wharfs and warehouses to some of the finest bollards in town.

Most of us in E1W watch the river traffic, enjoy Wapping beach and admire our local Marine Police Station (the oldest in the world), but many Londoners never really engage with the river – or its rubbish.

Maria Arceo’s inspiration

Artist, Maria Arceo’s inspiration for ‘Future Dust’ began just a short goose flight across the river from Wapping in Bermondsey.

Here, Maria discovered old leather shoes which had been washed up onto the Thames foreshore and dated back to Tudor times.

Artist, Maria Arceo with her installation, 'Future Dust'.

Artist, Maria Arceo with part of her installation, ‘Future Dust’.

If a ‘natural product’ such as leather, which was probably treated with urine rather than chemicals 500 years ago had not decomposed, then what about all the other rubbish and in particular plastic questioned Maria.

Plastic cups within the installation, 'Future Dust' by Maria Arceo.

Plastic cups within the installation, ‘Future Dust’ by Maria Arceo.

Future Dust

Maria’s fascination for archaeology and oceanography led her to collect plastic from 40 beaches along the tidal Thames, sort and colour code it and create the 12 meter footprint shaped installation that has become ‘Future Dust’.

The installation, 'Future Dust' by Maria Arceo is illuminated at night in front of Tower Bridge on the River Thames.

The installation, ‘Future Dust’ by Maria Arceo is illuminated at night in front of Tower Bridge on the River Thames.

Educational artwork for all ages

Highlighting the scale of the plastic problem, the installation also lets viewers examine the objects up close and ultimately aims to challenge Londoners towards a more sustainable future.

The installation appeals to all ages and one year old Leya Geger who visited ‘Future Dust’ with her mother was in no doubt as to the detail she was most interested in:

Leya Geger, aged 1, views a doll within the rubbish of the art installation, 'Future Dust'.

Leya Geger, aged 1, views a doll within the rubbish of the art installation, ‘Future Dust’.

Plastic pollution: a global environmental issue

Plastic pollution is now a global environmental issue that affects waterways and ultimately oceans all over the world.

Maria’s artwork is a response to the sheer scale of plastic litter that is now being deposited into the river.

The installation, 'Future Dust' by Maria Arceo is illuminated at night in front of Tower Bridge on the River Thames.

The installation, ‘Future Dust’ by Maria Arceo is illuminated at night in front of Tower Bridge on the River Thames.

For fish’s sake London, don’t drop litter!

The River Thames is home to over 125 species of fish, but 75% of bottom feeding fish have plastic in their gut.

Rubbish within the installation, 'Future Dust' by Maria Arceo.

Rubbish within the installation, ‘Future Dust’ by Maria Arceo.

 

So for fish’s sake London, don’t drop litter! #FFSLDN

 





 

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