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From a distance, the art hanging from the ceiling of the San Francisco Zoo's old elephant area appears beautiful but step closer and you will see Styrofoam cups, water bottles, shoes, Frisbees and hundreds of other trash that has been collected from the beaches, dumped by the oceans. Created by Oregon artist and teacher Angela Haseltine Pozzi, the project called “Washed Ashore” attempts to creates awareness about marine debris and plastic pollution.

Pozzi started Washed Ashore when she noticed plastic littering the beaches of her home town Bandon in Oregon. Shocked by the immense trash, the now 53-year-old Pozzi recruited community members to help clean up the beach. From these trash, Pozzi started constructing giant sculptures of the sea life that are most affected by plastic pollution. Over the last three years, Pozzi and her team has collected over 11 tons of debris from Pacific beaches and created a traveling exhibit of over 30 sculptures and education programs that continues to tour the United States. A sea lion pup, a whale bones rib cage, a sea turtle and an ocean gyre, all made from ocean and beach garbage, are a few of the gigantic sculptures that are currently on display at the San Francisco Zoo.

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