Sea of 168,000 Used Plastic Straws Is Parted in Unique Art Installation With a Strong Environmental Message

Photographer and artist Benjamin Von Wong (previously) worked with Zero Waste Saigon and Starbucks Vietnam to gather 168,000 used plastic straw for his incredible installation “Parting of the Plastic Sea”, the world’s largest straw sculpture. This 10 foot installation represents an important action that people around the world can easily take – a polite refusal of a plastic straw. Because who knows if that straw is “the last straw” as described by Steven Connell in his beautiful spoken word poem that narrates the video.

Straws are virtually impossible to recycle in most places around the world because of how light and small they are. They’re also one of the easiest products to turn down at a bar, cafe or restaurant. With a truckload of plastic flowing into the ocean every 60 seconds, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed – but I’ve always believed that its less about what we can’t do, and more about what we can do – even if it’s something as small as saying “No Straw please”.

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.

This project embodies a similar message in the parable about a boy throwing beached starfish back into the sea. No action is ever considered too small when trying to make a difference in the world.

One day, an old man was walking along a beach that was littered with thousands of starfish that had been washed ashore by the high tide. As he walked he came upon a young boy who was eagerly throwing the starfish back into the ocean, one by one. Puzzled, the man looked at the boy and asked what he was doing. Without looking up from his task, the boy simply replied, “I’m saving these starfish, Sir”. The old man chuckled aloud, “Son, there are thousands of starfish and only one of you. What difference can you make?” The boy picked up a starfish, gently tossed it into the water and turning to the man, said, “I made a difference to that one!”

“The Parting of the Plastic Sea” is on display at the Estella Place Starbucks in Ho Chi Minh City until March 24, 2019, after which time it will be looking for a new home.

via The Awesomer

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.