Arts is being used to raise awareness of the damage made by plastic and other man-made waste to marine eco systems.

‘Plastic Life’, a new exhibition at the Ocean Space Collective in Wollongong, showcases artwork by University of Wollongong alumnus, including photographer Aristo Risi, textile artists Eliza Tame and Shantel Cvetkovski and the artistic collective Reuse Reefcycle.

Mr Risi came up with the idea for the exhibition when he was working as a diving instructor in Thailand last year.

“I’ve travelled all over the world and the one constant when I’m diving in new places is the presence of plastic in our oceans,” Mr Risi said.

“I realised through art shows and combining science you’re able to inspire people to be able to create change, and I just wanted to be able to evoke that emotion in people that I felt in Thailand.”

In addition to the artwork, tomorrow’s opening night will feature guest speakers from the University of Wollongong, including renowned science communicator Laura Wells, and Paul Hellier from Pelton Against Plastic.

Dr Karen Raubenheimer from the Australian Nation Centre for Ocean Resources and Security will also be speaking about the global effects that plastic is having on our oceans.

“Marine litter is a local issue, but there is much we can do at the global level to help. This is particularly necessary for those countries such as small island developing states that find so much litter on their shores originating from other countries,” Dr Raubenheimer said.

“Progress is being made within domestic and international policy frameworks including the trade of our household plastic waste to developing countries. But, we need the public to keep up the pressure on our policy-makers. Consumers can’t do it alone.”

Mr Risi said the exhibition would encourage more people to take-action and make a positive change in their lifestyles.

“A lot of blame is put on big corporations and governments for polluting the Earth. But, it’s our consumer dollars that really matter. When we change our individual selves then I think the world can change,” he said.

The exhibition opens tomorrow at 6pm, and will run for three weeks. It will also act as a launch of Renew Wollongong, a project that aims to revitalise Wollongong’s CBD by turning empty spaces into creative places.