Pretty Pollution: Toxic Waste Becomes Art

Picture this: a stream so polluted by coal mining runoff that it appears bright orange or yellow, or even milky white. The sight of it led two Ohio University professors to try to do something about it. Their solution was to formulate paint pigments using the unnaturally occurring iron in the water. Art professor John Sabraw then used the paint to create a series of hauntingly beautiful canvases depicting endangered islands and estuaries. The project not only helps draw attention to the pollution problem but raises money toward the cleanup of the stream. Perhaps the smartest use for toxic sludge yet.

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