These delicious-looking but deadly ice candies cleverly highlight the global problem of water pollution.
A quick lick or frosty bite of the ubiquitous orange, blueberry, kiwi, or strawberry popsicle may be a perfect way to beat the heat, but this is one treat you would never want to be part of. A group of three design students from the National Taiwan University of the Arts have made some popsicles that look appetising but are made from polluted river water.
These ‘100 per cent Polluted Water Popsicles’, are flavoured with plastic waste, sewage, cigarette butts, condoms, oil spill, harmful dyes, resin, dead fish, wrappers, bottle caps et al. “The idea was to create awareness of water pollution and the importance of people having the right to access clean drinking water,” say the trio, Hong I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti, on their social media page.
The trio’s quirky sense of humour and innovative idea of spreading water pollution awareness has taken the virtual space by storm. They have been featured in several exhibitions in Taipei, including the Taipei World Trade Centre’s Young Designers Exhibition 2017.
The students took polluted water from 100 locations and froze the samples in popsicle moulds. The delicious-looking deadly pops were then preserved with polyester resin to keep them from melting.
According to a study undertaken by the World Economic Forum, approximately 8 million metric tonnes of plastic waste is dumped into oceans and waterways every year. It is the equivalent of emptying a truckload of polluted waste every minute. No prizes for guessing the top three water spoilers — China, India and the US.
More than 70 per cent of their waste is discarded untreated and disposed of improperly. Some researchers say that India pumps around 0.6 tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean every year. However, the Indian government does not have any official data to either deny or support this figure.
Around three billion people across the world get a fifth of their protein intake from the sea and are at risk of consuming plastic and other toxic waste. “It’s time we do something to control the water pollution. But the idea of the Taiwanese students is superb. It clicks because everybody loves an ice candy, but the next time you buy one, you will think of these disgustingly beautiful popsicles as well,” says Srikant Nayak, an artist and green activist from Mumbai.
So the next time you take a bite of your favourite orange ice candy, don’t forget to trash the plastic wrapper in the bin!