Two days after he started a hunger strike to protest sewage and garbage soiling Bankimuhan beach in Puri, 40-year-old sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik – who is perhaps the most famous attraction on the beach – was hospitalised on Thursday, reported PTI.

The artist, who has won international awards for his innovative sand sculptures, has been admitted to hospital in the Odisha state capital of Bhubaneshwar, 65 km away. For 25 years, Pattnaik has been creating his sculptures on the same beach he was protesting on. His works depict famous festivals, and aim to encourage national integrity, religious tolerance and create environmental awareness.

On Wednesday, Pattnaik had spoken to about his protest. “I have grown up on the beaches of Puri, creating my artwork,” he said. “The Bankimuhan beach is my canvas and I want to save it through my art.”

He said that he was alarmed by the pollution being spilled on the beach by an open sewage pipeline outlet. He added that the sands were now covered with plastic bags and garbage because the authorities had failed to devote any effort to keeping it clean.

“We understand that a sewage treatment plant can’t be set up in day, but there could be some temporary measures till then,” said Pattnaik. “Along with the treatment plant, the authorities could appoint cleaning persons and a net on the outlet, to take care of the plastic waste.”

Pattnaik has won several awards, including one at an international sand art championship at Berlin in 2008. He was awarded the Padma Shri n 2014. He also holds the Guinness world record for creating the tallest sand castle.

Last year, Sudarsan had tweeted to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik to draw his attention towards the dirt on the beach. However, despite the chief minister’s promise to start the process of cleaning the beach, not much has changed. Last month, Pattnaik created a sand sculputre to highlight the poor state of the Bankimuhan beach.

“After the initial tweet, I had got a response from the chief minister and I was even contacted by the District Administration. Both of them promised that they would start the work immediately,” said Pattnaik on Wednesday. “But none of the authorities took concrete steps to address the issue and that is why I had to sit on a dharna until some kind of work is started.”