Canadian artist Von Wong has created a huge plastic sculpture made from reclaimed plastic, including 168,037 straws.
The sculpture was used to raise awareness about single-use plastic pollution and the impact it’s having on the world’s oceans, with scientists predicting there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050.
Von Wong (Canada) and Zero Waste Saigon (Vietnam) organised the attempt in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, on 22 January 2019 for the Largest drinking straw sculpture (supported).
The attempt was also sponsored in part by Starbucks, who installed used straw collection bins at a number of their stores in Vietnam.
Over the course of 6 months, straws were collected from Starbucks and clean-up groups organized by Zero Waste Saigon across Vietnam.
Once all the straws had been collected, washed, sorted and colour coded, it took between 20 to 50 volunteers to help create the sculpture across multiple days.
The sculpture measures 3.3 m (10 ft 9 in) tall, 8 m (36 ft 2 in) long and 4.5 m (14 ft 9 in) wide. It depicts a parting plastic sea which people can walk through, and the installation included the hashtag #strawpocalypse.
The number of straws were measured by using a luggage scale and an excel spreadsheet. Two independent witnesses were present for the count and de-count.
“The installation is meant to depict the parting of the plastic ocean in an attempt to engage and encourage individuals to say no to single-use plastics, especially straws,” explained artist Von Wong.
“They’re used for just minutes but take centuries to disappear. Hundreds of millions of straws are used every single day around the world. We wanted to intercept just a fraction of them to show how these tiny little things add up into a very big problem”.
The installation will stand for a period of approximately three months in Estella Place, Ho Chi Minh City, open for the general public to go and visit.
“Individuals can walk through these two walls of straws and hopefully get an emotional reaction to the massive volume of trash that is generated every single day in the name of convenience,” says Von Wong.
You can see more of Von Wong’s work at www.vonwong.com.
Watch the spoken word poem about the project written and performed by Steve Connell.