By Cordelia Hsu

Australia-based environmental artist Marina DeBris aims to portray the power of one person in the planet’s fight against marine pollution with her latest sculpture showcased at a Sydney beach exhibition.

“Just a drop in the ocean, Said 7.8 billion people” is on display at Sculpture by the Sea, which opened on Friday.

More than 100 artworks are on display along the 2km coastal walk between Sydney’s Bondi beach and Tamarama, with organisers expecting about a half-million visitors across three weeks.

“It’s about how one person can make a difference in a positive way or in a negative way,” said DeBris, who uses a punny pseudonym to highlight the threats faced by marine life from plastic and waste.

People may not feel like their actions matter in the big picture but if every person picked up one piece of rubbish, there would be 7.8 billion bits of trash removed, she told Reuters.

DeBris, who begins her day by picking up rubbish washed ashore on beaches, has been transforming the trash into sculptures and wearable art since 2009.

Her art has been called “trashion”, which she says has raised awareness about single-use plastics and pollution in the oceans.

A study by the University of New South Wales last year found 84% of rubbish found on Australian beaches was plastic and about 40 per cent of marine debris was caused by littering.

“Without a doubt, we are not doing nearly enough,” DeBris said, adding though things appeared to have become better over the past decade, the rise of single-use plastics due to Covid-19 was a real setback.

“As soon as Covid came, everything went out the window… and I just don’t know how we’re going to get back there,” she said.