Winners announced for #uselesstensils artwork competition

Artwork submitted to marine conservation organisation, Azraq as part of a campaign focussing on the impacts of single use plastic utensils have been judged with local sustainability artist, Mariska Nell taking out the People’s Choice Award and Gems Modern Academy taking out first prize.

 The campaign, entitled #uselessutensils enabled residents to provide their leftover plastic cutlery to Freedom Pizza delivery drivers or at collection points offered by Carcluccio’s, Beitfann Studio and Lush Middle East within the United Arab Emirates between 5 May to 15 June 2019.

 The artworks came from Repton, Gems Modern Academy and Clarion schools and included a turtle impacted by marine debris, and another piece that highlights the need to eat clean in order to save marine life, which not only used the plastic utensils, but paper plates also. But it was the artwork depicting dead marine life in a sea of rubbish inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Nights” piece submitted by Gems Modern which took out first prize, while a lamp shade made from plastic utensils submitted by Mariska Nell that took out the People’s Choice award.

 “In 2016, Worldcentric.org estimated that 40 billion plastic utensils were used every year in the United States alone, the majority of which were thrown out after just one use, ending up in landfills and waterways,” Natalie Banks, Managing Director of Azraq said.

 “Plastic utensils are among the items we have found along the coastlines of the United Arab Emirates during our beach clean ups and are, like plastic straws, most of the time unnecessary.”

 “Across the globe, we all need to do our share of reducing single use plastics, which is what this and other similar initiatives are all about. Outlets have previously focussed on ditching the plastic straw in the UAE as part of our #stopsucking campaign we launched last year in conjunction with Freedom Pizza; this year we urged them to ditch the plastic utensils, providing an alternative like bamboo or birchwood sets and making customers opt-in for these,” Ms Banks said.

 “Most of the time, home and work deliveries don’t need to have plastic utensils included with the order as the person has access to their own cutlery.”

 This is yet another example of Azraq’s Marine Debris campaign, which has to date focussed on cigarette butts, balloon releases and plastic straws as well as offering beach clean ups as part of corporate social responsibility for schools and corporates, illustrating how small changes can have big impacts.

 To find out further information regarding the #useless utensils campaign visit: https://azraqme.org/uselessutensils

Photo: Artwork submitted by GEMS Modern Academy inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Nights”