A picture is worth a thousand words and National Geographic has shared many remarkable stories with the world through its striking photographs. Opening on 12 September at ArtScience Museum, Planet or Plastic?, an exhibition by National Geographic, tells the story of plastic, from its invention just over a century ago, to the environmental impact brought about by its mass consumption.
Featuring 70 profound images displayed in six thematic sections, the exhibition highlights the fragility of the natural environment, and how it is being impacted by plastic pollution. The show aims to raise awareness of society’s dependence on plastic by visually depicting the global plastic waste crisis and highlighting the people who are working on solutions to this urgent problem. The exhibition has a special focus on the devastating effect of plastic waste on the world’s oceans. The World Economic Forum has predicted that plastic in oceans could outweigh marine life by 2050.
To complement the powerful message presented in Planet or Plastic?, ArtScience Museum has developed a series of programmes, including workshops, film screenings, online events and community activities. One of the highlights is a beach clean-up, where members of the public will be invited to do their part for the environment by removing plastic waste from one of Singapore’s local beaches.
“Plastic pollution is one of the most important global environmental challenges of our generation. But it is an issue that we can all do something about. This exhibition informs us about how we got here, the scope of the problem, and how we can each be a part of the solution. National Geographic has made a commitment to reducing our reliance on single-use plastics and our hope is that after seeing this exhibition, visitors will join us in that commitment,” said Kathryn Keane, Vice President of Public Programming at the National Geographic Society.
Plastic has eased space travel, extended the shelf life of fresh food, allows for the delivery of clean drinking water to those without it, and even saves lives when used in airbags or helmets. Despite its utility and convenience, an exorbitant amount of plastic products are disposed of improperly with some 6.3 billion tonnes of plastic waste1 left unrecycled.
Included in the exhibition is an emotive image taken by award-winning underwater photographer, Jordi Chias, which depicts a loggerhead turtle ensnared in an old plastic fishing net in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Spain. The turtle could stretch its neck above water to breathe, but it would have died if the photographer had not freed it. Chias won the ‘One Earth’ award at the Wildlife Photographer of the Year in 2010 with this image.
One of the major hurdles to recycling is properly cleaning and sorting the materials. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, women sort through a mountain of discarded plastic bottles gathered by waste pickers, which will be melted down and remade into new plastic products. In the photograph taken by Randy Olson, it shows places which provide employment and help remove discarded plastic from flowing into the sea.
Interactive Educational Space
12 September 2020 – 28 March 2021, Included with the exhibition ticket.
The Interactive Space in Planet or Plastic? focuses on how Covid-19 has increased our usage of single-use plastic, especially through the usage of disposable face masks. It includes interactive challenges that reveal the damaging consequences of our increased use of disposable plastic. It also uses ArtScience Museum’s ‘feet-first’ approach to tactile interaction, inviting visitors to activate interactive stations with their feet, instead of their hands.
5 December 2020, 20 February 2021, 8am – 11am
ArtScience Museum is organising a beach clean-up to remove plastic waste from Singapore’s shoreline.
The complementary event has limited slots available and interested participants are required to pre-book their slots. More details will be made available closer to the dates on ArtScience Museum’s Facebook page.
We invite the public to join us and help clear Singapore’s beautiful beaches from ocean plastic. The beach clean-up is organised with Singapore-based organisation, Seven Clean Seas, which runs many programmes to combat plastic pollution.
Tickets: Adult SGD 19, Singapore Resident: SGD 16
Venue: ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands
When: 12 September 2020 to 25 April 2021