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Environmental advocate Victoria Teo has designed garments made of garbage that she collected from the beach near her home and hopes to draw attention to the ‘disgusting habit’ of dumping rubbish.
The 27-year-old language instructor, who moved to the kingdom from the UK in January, was disappointed to see Bahrain’s beaches being tarnished by waste.
“There are many beautiful areas around the island, but I have noticed a problem time and time again – trash,” said the Briton living in Hidd. “A lot of rubbish blankets many sandy areas here which ruins the beauty of the island.”
Victoria, who has taken part in numerous beach clean-ups in the UK with organisations such as Surfers Against Sewage and the Marine Conversation Society, has also joined multiple environmental initiatives in Bahrain.
“After learning about the long-term impacts of plastic pollution, such as the entanglement, ingestion, intoxication and starvation marine wildlife, as well as the prolific presence of microplastics found in seafood that we consume, I felt compelled to act,” explained Victoria.
Pre-covid-19, she attended Cleanup Bahrain community campaigns and one organised by Al-Hassanian Company at Damistan Beach.
She also attended a Bahrain Health and Safety Society’s Waste Management Forum called ‘The Solution is Less Pollution’.
However, as she noticed that the garbage was growing at a beach near her home, she decided that enough was enough.
“Near my neighbourhood in Hidd, I usually jog in the mornings to the local dock,” she said. “Initially, I was shocked with the amount of rubbish that kept resurfacing and I decided to take matters into my own hands and clean the small beach.
“But the rubbish kept reappearing. I have found plastic bags and bottles, shoes, plastic buckets, many face masks, polystyrene takeaway boxes, nylon ropes, crisp wrappers and plastic cutlery. The list goes on.”
Victoria then came up with the idea of designing an outfit made of the waste she collected to shock people who may be unaware of how bad the situation has become.
“I have been collecting bits of trash in an attempt to upcycle it into a garment with the sole purpose of making people sit up and take notice,” she added.
“I decided to create this garment to depict how plastic consumes the wearer. I also wanted to make a bold statement: Plastic pollution is becoming an issue we simply cannot ignore.”
She used plastic bags, old crisp wrappers, bottles, nylon rope and bin liners for her garments. She stapled the trash onto a top, and taped bin liners together to create a skirt.
“This was very difficult,” she said. “Most of the trash I collected at first disintegrated in my hands, which makes the problem even more real – microplastics are created so quickly from the trash people leave behind.
“I hope to raise the community’s awareness of plastic pollution and push the government to make the necessary changes needed to eliminate this issue by installing more recycling bins in these public areas, as well as advocating more environmental conservation initiatives that aim to protect the beauty of Bahrain.
“We must all do our part to protect and preserve the environment as much as possible, and for future generations to come.
“It’s everyone’s duty to respect the environment and I urge people to recycle rather than mindlessly throwing their trash on the ground.
“There is a saying: ‘in the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught’.
“If you love Bahrain, protect and conserve the environment of this beautiful island.”
For details, follow @victoria.teo_ on Instagram.
See page 4 for activewear made out of sea waste.