Conceptual artist and photographer Von Wong has created a beautiful new project highlighting the problem of plastic waste, “Mermaids hate plastic.”

You can see the final photos on his web site, or watch the video to see how he made the photographs.

In his blog post about the photoshoot, Von Wong talks about the amount of plastic waste we generate: In the US alone, we use 1500+ plastic bottles every *second*. And most of those do not get recycled. Most end up in landfills or the ocean. Plastic never really goes away; it just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces.

What does this have to do with climate change? All those plastic bottles are made out of petroleum. The fossil fuels to make the bottles, ship the bottles and deal with the waste contribute a lot to our CO2 emissions – part of our overall overconsumption problem. And that doesn’t even count the emissions and pollution created when transporting the oil, refining the oil, and making the plastic. It is estimated that about 2% of hydrocarbon resources are used annually to make plastics.

And just think; we managed to survive without any plastic at all before about 1940. And now we are swimming in it.