On the Spanish/Portuguese river border in the far north east of the Algarve, there’s a Portuguese officer watching out for smugglers. The Rio Guadiana may look quiet between Alcoutim and Sanlúcar de Guadiana but this was once a popular route for smugglers. The Portuguese took coffee and sugar and traded it for fabrics from Spain.
These days there are no smugglers, but there is a great festival every March celebrating the days of contraband, and since November 2020 the Portuguese officer has something to observe on the banks of the Guadiana – below him is Lontra.
This giant otter made entirely of waste plastic was created by the brilliant Portuguese artist Bordalo II. Lontra is one of 195 Big Trash Animal sculptures he has created, and I am sure there will be more given the amount of plastic we continue to create and the number of animals that are killed from consuming our plastic waste every year.
Every time all of us see one of his Big Trash Animals, whether that’s in person or photographs, he hopes we will all take another look at our use of plastic. The council in Alcoutim does seem to have missed the point though! Take a closer look at the picture below.