Culiacán, the western Mexico city, has the highest death rate from gun-related crime and violence in the country.
Creative activist Pedro Reyes felt that something positive could be done with the city’s weapons. He addressed the issue of gun violence by turning them into more productive tools, like shovels for planting trees in the local botanical garden.
Reyes started a campaign for residents to hand over their guns in exchange for a coupon. They could use those coupons to buy electronics or household appliances later on.
He collected 1,527 guns for the project Palas por Pistolas (shovels for guns). Interestingly, 40% of the guns were high power automatic weapons intended for military use.
These weapons were transported to a military zone where they were publicly crushed by a steamroller. The crushed guns were then melted and recycled into 1,527 shovels with wooden handles.
These shovels have been distributed to a number of art institutions and schools, where they are used to plant trees.