April 19, 2021

Art to avoid filling the ocean with plastic – The Province

Art to avoid filling the ocean with plastic - The Province


"It's just a straw, said eight billion people". It is the phrase that heads the blog of the Canadian photographer Benjamin Von Wong, whose last artistic installation, 'Strawpocalypse' (something like 'Pajitapocalipsis'), creates awareness about the contaminant and unnecessary that is the use of plastic straws. A bad habit that we must get rid of, especially in Spain, because according to Greenpeace we are the country in which more plastic straws are used per inhabitant and year of Europe (more than 13 million per day).

Volunteers assembling the installation. VON WONG

168,000 are the used straws that make up this impressive structure of 3.3 meters called 'The maritime partition', assembled by hundreds of volunteers with the collaboration of Zero Waste Saigon and Starbucks Vietnam. Plastic waves, in different shades of blue, are separated to reveal a yellow tide that represents plastic waste deposited at the bottom of the sea. The sun, a light bulb, shines and illuminates the fictional ocean. Plastic bags, also recycled, serve as support for straws and LED tubes.

The work, on display. Photo: Von Wong

"For my last project I wanted to encourage people to reject the next straw," Von Wong says on his website. The negatives urge, because every 60 seconds the plastic that would fit in the tank of a truck is poured into the sea. If this rhythm of massive consumption of straws continues, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the sea. But all is not lost: this disaster can be avoided or mitigated by small individual gestures, such as rejecting straws in restaurants or using other foods or reusable, such as steel, glass or bamboo.

The installation 'Strawpocalypse'. Photo: Von Wong

'Strawpocalypse' will be on display at Estella Place, Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, until March 24, 2019. On its website, Von Wong says it is looking for a permanent residence for the installation.

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