Engaging new drain art project highlights the impact of littering on the environment
A colourful new art project has been launched in Emsworth, Hampshire, targeting littering on our streets. Ten new pieces of art based on designs by local schoolchildren are being installed on pavements next to road drains to highlight the link between littering in our towns and plastic pollution in our rivers, harbours and wider seas.
The project has been enabled by local Hampshire charity the Final Straw Foundation. The charity’s founder, Bianca Carr, explains, “Back in early 2020, we decided that we would love to install art to highlight the way that litter and other pollutants can be washed with rainwater down the road drains on our streets and end up in the sea. We ran a competition open to local schoolchildren to create some beautiful designs for us that we could use as a base for the drain murals. We chose around 15 beautiful and colourful designs that a local artist would then paint onto our local streets. We are thrilled with the results and hope that we can roll the project out to other areas too.”
The artist brought onboard to paint the designs onto the pavements is also based in Emsworth. Deborah Hochreutener was pleased to get involved. “Recreating the children’s artwork has been a joy,” she enthuses. “Painting their brilliant ideas whilst hearing the positive comments from the residents of Emsworth has been a really lovely experience.”
The team at the Final Straw Foundation hope this project will bring a bit of fun and colour to the pavements of local area, as well as delivering a vital message. Bianca continues, “It's so important that we all protect our delicate ecosystems, and these artworks will help drive that message home and we hope it will make a difference to the levels of littering locally. The message really applies not just to drains but to all litter on our streets. It's so easy for it to blow around and end up in our countryside as well as our waters - fingers crossed these murals remind people to value and take care of our wonderful planet!”.
Full permissions were obtained prior to installing the artworks from the Highways Agency. Local councillors are also positive about the project. "The Emsworth Drain Art is a colourful reminder from our younger residents on how we can protect our environment now and for everyone in the future,” states Cllr Julie Thain-Smith, Emsworth Councillor and Cabinet Lead for Environment and Climate Change at Havant Borough Council. “This is a great example of individual and community action, which has true meaning for us in Emsworth as we see the results of pollution from many sources in our waterways and harbours daily."
You can find out more about the drain art project here: https://finalstrawfoundation.org/projects-and-activities/drain-art-project/