Sunderland University student's Shields Ferry artwork highlights plastic pollution

A new display of photo artwork brings home the topical issue of plastics in our oceans.

Clean Up Isle Sea by photographer Jay Smith has been installed within the windows on the Shields Ferry across the River Tyne.

Photographer Jay Smith with ferry manager Carol Timlin.

Its transparent images contrast the stunning North-East coast with the discarded plastics lurking just below the surface.

Sunderland University student Jay, 21, said: “There has been a great deal of interest around the problem of plastics in our oceans and I hope my work makes people aware that marine pollution is not a problem that is far away, but one that is a lot closer to home.

“Clean Up Isle Sea asks people to question damage that we have done to our coastline by contrasting wide seascapes with close up images of waste becoming embedded within our environment.

“It is time we got together to clean up and also stay on top of the problems that have been created.

Jay Smith with her work inside the Shields Ferry.

"I want people to go away and find out more about the issue and what they can do to make a difference.”

Fine art student Jay, who is from Stocksfield, Northumberland, originally approached staff at the Shields Ferry as part of a course which encourages students to get their work displayed in public places.

This grew into a larger project which will be displayed on the Spirit of the Tyne on its half-hourly crossings between North and South Shields this autumn..

Carol Timlin, the ferry manager, said: “The Shields Ferry has been part of life at the mouth of the Tyne for hundreds of years so we are well aware of the environment we live and work in.

“Jay’s photography brings a very topical issue into real local focus; the river mouth, coastline and beaches are magnificent natural assets for our region and we need to look after them.”

The Shields Ferry is owned and operated by Nexus, the public body which provides and promotes public transport in North East England.

It has ISO 14001 Environmental Management System accreditation recognising the effort the crew makes to perform to the highest standards in terms of waste management and wider environmental impact.

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