Litter turned into critters to celebrate our Irish Sea

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Marine Community Engagement Officer, Sally Tapp, has teamed up with local artist, Gail Pickett, to transform beach litter into a work of art celebrating the amazing array of life that can be found in our Irish Sea.

The installation depicts an underwater scene that could easily be mistaken for a tropical ocean but every creature on display makes its home in our Irish Sea. It’s full of marine wildlife, from well-known species like turtles, dolphins and jellyfish to the weird and wonderful sea potato and ocean quahog.

“We’ve created our underwater world using plastic bottles, nets, ropes, old clothes, sacking, footballs & other recyclable waste collected on our local beaches,” says Sally.

Sally and Gail have been collecting litter from the beach to use in the display for over a year. Over two-hundred-and-forty local adults and children contributed to the project, helping to create much of the marine wildlife populating the display, at community workshops held in Bootle, Crosby and Formby libraries over the summer.

Gail has found a use for every form of litter. There is a basking shark made from a sleeping bag and a washing basket, a ‘sock-topus’ sewn together from discarded clothing, a giant jellyfish made from abandoned lilos and many more engaging animals in the display.

litter critters

While the aim of the art piece is to highlight the resilience and variety of life in the Irish Sea, it also sends a sobering message about the amount of litter on beaches that ends up polluting our sea and coastline.

Sally adds, “Our seas are full of bright, colourful, charismatic creatures but decades of damaging activities, including pollution and overfishing, have put pressure on these animals and their home and created barren underwater landscapes dominated by litter. If we continue to damage our marine environment, its beauty and wildlife will be lost. However, if we act more responsibly, then all our seas could look like our art installation.”

The installation will be revealed on Saturday 25th August between 11.00am – 1.30pm in Crosby library and people are invited to drop in to see it. There will be tea and cakes and a chance to chat to Sally and Gail about how the scene was created. The display will then be open for viewing until the 3rd September.

For more information about Living Seas North West, visit: or contact To see more of Gail’s artwork visit: