JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Beaches Go Green, a nonprofit that aims to spread awareness about the waste people produce and how it impacts the environment, sponsored an entire section at Jacksonville Beach Deck the Chairs this year.
At the center of the section at the Seawalk Pavilion is an octopus made entirely of single-use plastic.
“The octopus arms have 15,318 bottles, some of them that we hand-strung onto the piping we attached to the metal frames,” said Anne Marie Moquin, founder of Beaches Go Green. “It’s a lot of work to build, to install and now it is going to be a lot of maintenance.”
The Beaches Go Green Octopus Garden aims to raise awareness about the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.
“It makes me feel good because we’re spreading awareness to everybody," said 11-year-old Gannon Ryan. “So people can stop using plastic and save the planet.”
Deck the Chairs will run through Jan. 1, but organizers are starting to look for a home for the octopus now.
“We were here a couple of times. We loved them. They are very pretty. They’re nice, but I don’t think it has ever crossed my mind on where it should go after if it’s over,” said Jacksonville Beach resident Gene Weitzel.
News4Jax asked him if he had any ideas where it should go next.
“(It) should be somewhere near water so people don’t pollute the waterways," Weitzel said. “Maybe if there’s enough interest, they will create a park out of it ... at the Landing area.”
Life for the octopus after Deck the Chairs is something worth pondering, especially for the Beaches Go Green founder.
“We’d love to see it find a home where it can impact more people, to continue to spread that education and awareness. Plastic is not going away anytime soon," Moquin said.
Moquin said the massive tentacles of the octopus represent the amount of plastic 6.5 people use in a year.
“They don’t break down. They break up into microplastics, which we’re finding in our food and water,” Moquin said. “There is estimated to be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. It’s devastating. It’s going to impact our leisure activities and our food supply around the world.”