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Buffalo Museum of Science exhibit turns plastic pollution into art

“Pollution Prevention through Art,” which opened Sunday, includes colorful rain barrels created by local students.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Buffalo Museum of Science has a new exhibit that features local students and highlights the hazards of plastic pollution.

The “Pollution Prevention through Art” exhibit, which opened Sunday, includes colorful rain barrels created by local students, who used plastic bags to create pieces of art. Of the 41 art projects submitted, 16 of them are on display through May 15.

In a statement, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said the rain barrels created by students "demonstrate their understanding of the environmental issues facing us and capture their feelings about those challenges. These artistic interpretations stimulate discussion and encourage collaboration in responding to the plastic problem, and I thank (Department of Environmental Planning) and their partners for once again energizing this conversation.”

The Department of Environmental Planning helped plan the event, along with the Buffalo Museum of Science, the Buffalo Zoo, the New York State Pollution Prevention Institute, and Hyatt’s Creative.

Part of the exhibit includes nine painted rain barrels, out of 50 submitted, from local schools and organizations in Erie and Niagara counties. Those barrels are part of the Western New York Stormwater Coalition’s annual art contest, which aimed to bring awareness to preventing stormwater pollution.

"By incorporating an artful approach with the conservation science of single-use plastics and recycling, these students were able to bring their own conservation ideas to life in a really fun and creative way," Troy Paisley, Director of Education at the Buffalo Zoo, said in a statement.

"With the help of their teachers, they got to explore some real-life ways that they can reduce their own use of plastics and also spread the word about sustainability to others through their own wonderful creations."

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