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Neptune artwork at Saunton Sands for Earth Day 2018

Neptune has made an appearance on Saunton Sands beach, urging people to #BreakFreeFromPlastic!

This wonderful 100ft Neptune/Poisden figure was created on Friday the 13th by Welsh artist Marc Treanor, one of six sand-art pieces he's drawing around Europe to help promote Earth Day on April 22nd 2018.

It was commissioned by the European Environmental Bureau and backed by Friends of the Earth who are campaigning to reduce plastic use. The drawing was finished by midday and lasted a couple of hours before the tide came in.

But during that time it represented the sea throwing back the single-use plastic we fill the oceans with, as evident when plastic and other rubbish is washed up on to Saunton and on beaches around the world.

Earth Day 2018

On Earth Day, falling on the 22nd April in 2018, the whole world is asked to take major steps towards doing what we can to save the planet. Earth Day is dedicated to providing the information and inspiration needed to fundamentally change human attitude and behaviour about plastics.

It's very fitting then that Neptune represents Earth Day in North Devon, as regular beach cleans highlight time and time again the amount of plastic being brought up onto our shores.

This comes about as new polling data, commissioned by Friends of the Earth, indicates that 81% of people have done something to reduce or cut out their use of plastic, for example by purchasing reusable shopping bags or avoiding the use of plastic straws.

Julian Kirby, a plastic-free campaigner for Friends of the Earth, said:

“Poseidon has been defending oceans for millennia, but the current plastic pollution crisis is more terrifying than any sea monster. Tougher measures are urgently needed to protect our oceans, beaches and wildlife. The government must listen to the huge public concern over this issue, and chart a course for cleaner seas by committing to end all plastic pollution.”

Marc Treanor, the sand artist behind the Saunton Sands work, said:

“I was happy to be asked to be part of this project as the subject of plastic pollution awareness seems now to have reached a critical point. I wanted to somehow express an anger with what plastic pollution has done to the oceans, so the image of a raging Neptune hurling a plastic bottle back at us seemed apt.”

The drawing is one of 6 works appearing on beaches across Europe, each one different and unique but all aimed towards the theme of ending plastic pollution for a better Earth in the future.

All the works are carrying the hashtag #BreakFreeFromPlastic, a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution.

We thank Marc and everyone behind the campaign for choosing North Devon and Saunton Sands. The Saunton Sands Hotel team were thrilled to be directly involved, in both meeting Marc and seeing Neptune emerge from the sands.

They've also created a news piece for the occasion.

Those who want to act against plastic can join the 60,000 people who have signed Friends of the Earth’s petition calling for the government to dramatically reduce the plastic pouring into our oceans.