CULTURE & ARTS
05/31/2016 05:20 pm ET Updated May 31, 2016

Artists Are Painting With Polluted Water For An Important Reason

Water pollution has become a real issue in the Philippines.

Artists in the Philippines turned dirty river water into striking works of art and ignited a conversation about pollution at the same time. 

The nine painters, who were commissioned by the Filipino ad agency TBWA\SMP, used gritty pigments sourced from the rivers of Manila to create 22 pieces of art -- each one highlighting a different scene from a river bank in the area.

"At first it was difficult because it was the first time I experienced using dirty pigments, and second was the smell," painter JC Vargas told Reuters. "Although the pigments have already been decontaminated, the smell of the sludge was still present, so that was a big challenge for us artists."

According to Greenpeace, at least 50 of the 421 rivers in the Philippines have been declared "biologically dead" because they've been depleted of oxygen and therefore can't support very many marine lifeforms. 

The project, which is currently on display in a Manila mall, is already raising funds to make a difference. The pieces will be sold starting from around $854 each to support a local charity dedicated to cleaning polluted rivers. 

Learn more about the story in the video above. 

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