Why Students in Taiwan Made These Disgusting Popsicles

June 9th 2017

Kyle Jaeger

Art students in Taiwan are using popsicles to raise awareness of water pollution. 


To demonstrate the environmental impact of urbanization, the students collected 100 samples of sewage water from around the country, froze them in popsicle molds, and then put them on display. 

The result? Dirty, toxic popsicles containing bugs, discarded cigarettes, plastic wrappers, and miscellaneous debris. 


Taiwan is experiencing rapid economic growth thanks to a surge in demand for tech products, which account for a third of its exports. But the resulting urbanization has increased the amount of waste that winds up in sewers and streams. 

This problem isn't limited to one island, though. 

A 2012 study published in the journal Sustainability looked at the effects of rapid urbanization in Shanghai, China. Researchers determined that as more land was replaced by buildings and the population increased, so too did waste and pollution.

"Urbanization has also created serious environmental problems in Shanghai, including its climatic and ecological effects and environmental pollution," the study found. 

But while some environmental effects of urbanization, such as smog and weather conditions, can be seen and felt, toxic sewage is an invisible consequence that typically goes unnoticed. When that sewage is turned into popsicles, though, the problem is hard to miss.