David Day, in front of Eddy, his 242kg turtle sculpture made from recycled and repurposed plastic found on beaches around the Whitsundays.
David Day, in front of Eddy, his 242kg turtle sculpture made from recycled and repurposed plastic found on beaches around the Whitsundays. Contributed

Mackay artist makes it big in Sydney

A MACKAY artist is taking his passion for the environment to a new audience in the city.

David Day's creation Eddy the turtle - a 242kg large-scale art installation made from marine litter and debris - is on display at The Rocks near Sydney's Circular Quay.

SodaStream invited Mr Day to create the large-scale piece after researching how deeply impacted Australian children and families feel by the threat of single-use plastics.

The company did research that found 82% of Aussie kids feel hopeless about the issue and 93% of parents are increasingly concerned about the level of plastic waste entering our oceans.

More than half (57%) of those surveyed believed their children would not be able to enjoy the ocean or natural environment the same way they have.

Most of the rubbish used to make Eddy came from beaches and islands around the Whitsundays.

Mr Day worked with Whitsunday organisation EcoBarge to collect all the plastic used in the installation.

"I went out with EcoBarge a couple of times and a lot of the rubbish ... I just sorted through what they had collected and picked out what I needed,” he said.

"They get a lot from the eastern side of Gloucester Island, they do island cleans throughout the region.”

A stunning example of David Day's art from marine debris.
A stunning example of David Day's art from marine debris. Contributed

EcoBarge is a not for profit organisation based out of Airlie Beach, that uses volunteer efforts to engage the community to help protect marine life by removing marine debris, reducing land-based litter, recycling and transforming ocean plastics and providing care for sick and injured turtles.

Mr Day got involved in the project after SodaStream approached him.

"I've been lucky enough to be doing a few large builds. I did one of the 10c container exchange in Queensland for the launch. I've made a couple of other big pieces.

"I've been making marine debris art for roughly 10 years now, so I am finally getting out there and people are seeing the message.

"With plastics being the focus now I was just lucky to be approached by SodaStream.

Margie Murphy and Anita Pender (left and right) from the Great Barrier Reef Festival with upcycling artist David Day.
Margie Murphy and Anita Pender (left and right) from the Great Barrier Reef Festival with upcycling artist David Day. Contributed

With thousands of people viewing his art every hour, Mr Day said this was a pinnacle of his career.

But while his art is making it big in the city, he remains a Mackay resident and lives in Bucasia.

Mr Day said that the issue of single-use plastics and marine debris was an important one for him and his family, especially considering his proximity to the beach.

"I feel like, by making art from that, littler people get drawn to it and they sort of have to look at it, and it provokes thought for them to see what sort of rubbish is found in the ocean,” he said.

Using plastic found locally was important to the artist.

"That is why I really wanted to get the rubbish from our region and bring it down and put in on display here. Unless you go out and see it first-hand then you really have no idea of the impact it has,” he said.

Mr Day's message to the wider community is one of caution.

"If people can just be thoughtful of what they do with their waste and the products they buy, hopefully, we can do something about this global problem,” he said.


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