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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Grate Art To Raise Ocean Awareness

Courtesy of Doug Woodring, Hong Kong.

"We waited two years on the Hong Kong government's approval for Grate Art," explains Doug Woodring. "It is the first in Asia where we bring leading artists to bring colourful street art to drive environmental awareness through innovative storm grate installations."

In an effort to help Hong Kongers play their part in protecting the world’s ocean, Ocean Recovery Alliance raise awareness through a unique public art installation called Grate Art.

"Hong Kong’s drainage system is one of the main sources for debris outflow into the ocean," Woodring describes. "Ocean Recovery Alliance is tackling this problem upstream through an initiative that uses art for awareness. Collaborating with seven leading local and Chinese artists, the Hong Kong charity installs ceramic art tiles on pavements above storm drains."

This is the latest initiative of Ocean Recovery Alliance which brings innovative solutions, technology, collaborations and policy together to impact positive improvements for the health of the ocean.

The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that 80% of the trash in our ocean comes from land, much of which gets washed into our waters from our streets and communities via drains, gutters and sewage systems. Given the recent high levels of trash on our beaches, this need for awareness and education comes at an important time. Our Hong Kong-based project is one of the first environmental undertakings to combine local art with storm drain pollution awareness, by putting colourful reminders next to the grates along the gutters.

We believe these vibrant artistic messages will mark a new turning point in drawing awareness to the detrimental consequences of drainage pollution and littering, while reminding the Hong Kong public that we are all linked to the ocean, even when walking down our city’s streets

Every one of us has a role to play to reduce waste generation at source. We want to join hands to keep our waters and shorelines clean,” says Amy Yuen, Assistant Director of Environmental Protection (Water Policy).

The first set of tiles will be installed within the next two weeks in the districts of Ap Lei Chau, Aberdeen, Deep Water Bay, Repulse Bay and Stanley. Baptist University will be the first university campus to apply the Grate Art plaques to their campus drains and grates, and will be installing 50 plaques before the start of school.

The Grate Art project was funded through donations raised by Simon Holliday and Shu Pu for Holliday's Clean Cross Swim from Hong Kong to Macau in 2014 which raised over HKD235,000.

Simon’s swim broke the record previously held by Beijing marathon swimmer Zhang Jian, for the 35 km crossing across the Pearl River delta in 10 hours 20 minutes. Ocean paddler Shu Pu, who escorted Holliday, became the first person to paddle solo across the delta.

Commissioned Grate Art artists include Man Chi Loy, Douglas Young, Chen Hua Xian, Liina Klauss, William Tong, Tang Nan Nan, and Graphic Airlines. For more information, visit here.

Copyright © 2016 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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