Elevated Wetlands

These striking pieces of sculpture were commissioned by the Canadian Plastics Industry Association “to create a public work of art that brings together both the plastics and art communities.” The artist is Noel Harding whose concept was to create a “functioning sculpture” that creates a wetland environment within “animal-like” plastic containers. The sculpture uses waste plastic as a soil substitute to mechanically filter water from the polluted Don River. Wetland vegetation that has the capability of biologically removing pollutants from the environment have been made part of the sculpture. Wetlands naturally purify water both through plant transpiration and by providing the right environment for micro-organisms that thrive on hydrocarbons and other pollutants.

Elevated Wetlands May ‘98

Solar panel June ‘99

Elevated Wetlands June ‘99

Elevated Wetlands August ‘07

A pump powered by a solar panel lifts water from the Don River to the top of the structure, from where it is filtered by the waste plastic and the plants to eventually return to the Don River purer than it was. The artist tells us “A wetlands environment was created within plastic structures. Waste plastic is used as a soil substitute to filter water and sustain plant and tree growth. For simple clear explanation of how this works go to this page

The sculpture was installed in the summer of 1998, followed by the plantings that year and the next.