Plastic pollution beach art France 5
A dolphin strikes a plastic bottle in a sand etching by French artist Jehan-Benjamin Tarain (J.Ben), created on a beach near the French town of Royan on 5 April. Copyright J.Ben / EEB.

Meet the beach artists taking a spectacular stand against plastic pollution

Enormous beach artworks are appearing across Europe highlighting marine plastic pollution in the run-up to Earth Day.



This 35 metre sand etching was created by one of Europe’s best-known beach artists Jehan-Benjamin Tarain on 5 April. Commissioned by the European Environmental Bureau and backed by Surfrider Foundation Europe the piece was created at Royan, near Bordeaux in France. Highlights from France are available for media use here, copyright J.Ben / EEB.



A second 40 metre work by Dutch artist Tim Hoekstra was completed near the Danish border on both the 7 and 8 April in an action, backed by Deutsche Umwelthilfe. Highlights from Germany are available for media use here, copyright Tim Hoekstra / EEB.


J.Ben completed a second work, Message in a Bottle, near Porto in Portugal today, 17 April. His action backed by national environmental group Quercus. Highlights from Portugal are available for media use here, copyright J.Ben / EEB.



Wales-based artist Marc Treanor created this huge etching of an angry Neptune tossing a bottle back at us. The work was completed on 13 April at Saunton Sands in Devon, England, backed by Friends of the Earth UK. Highlights from the UK are available for media use here, copyright Marc Treanor / EEB.


Dutch artist Marcelo van Es designed this turtle image on a beach near the Spanish city of Cadiz on 15 April. For him, turtles represent all animals in the sea. The two human figures seen on the left of the bottom image are volunteers for Greenpeace and Ecologistas en Acción, who backed this work in Spain. Highlights from Spain are available for media use here, copyright Bill Hunter / EEB. Video of Marcelo at work are available here, copyright Jack Hunter / EEB.


Dutch artist Tim Hoekstra created this 55 metre long work at Timboektoe on the Dutch coast near Amsterdam on Saturday 21 April. Highlights are available for media use here, copyright Tim Hoekstra / EEB.


Earth Day

The works were created in the run-up to Earth Day, 22 April. This year’s Earth Day theme is ‘end plastic pollution’.

They come as analysis shows that plastic packaging could be contributing to food waste. Food giant Nestle responded with what Greenpeace called “greenwashing baby steps” to reduce its plastic packaging.

European coordinator of the Break Free From Plastic movement Delphine Lévi Alvarès said:

“Nestlé is totally hooked to throwaway plastic packaging. It is core to the business model. Company bosses need to think big and revolutionise the way they get their products to us if we are to solve the plastic crisis choking our seas.”

The European Commission is expected to propose new laws against throw-away plastic this summer.