Since early July, Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund and volunteers have been working to fill a 40 foot Matson container with blue and white plastics for an architecture couple in Brooklyn, NY. Jason Klimoski and Lesley Chang of StudioKCA plan to build a 30 foot blue whale sculpture made entirely out of the collected plastic marine debris. The whale sculpture will be installed as part of a triennial event in the town of Bruges, Belgium in May 2018.
“The Bruges Whale is meant to spark conversation and raise awareness about the tremendous amount of plastic waste that is ending up in our oceans, hopefully helping the nearly 2,000,000 anticipated visitors reconsider what and how we consume, package, and dispose of plastic” said Klimoski. “Special thanks to Hawai‘i Wildlife Fund for their tremendous effort over the course of the last several months, helping us collect blue, white, and grey plastic to build ‘Skyscraper’, or ‘the Bruges Whale’ for the 2018 Bruges Triennial”.
In total, 17 Hawai‘i Island cleanup events were coordinated by HWF to fill the shipping container with approximately 15,212 lbs. of plastics while it was stationed at the Wai‘ōhinu Transfer Station in Ka‘ū. Additionally, Surfrider Foundation volunteers on Kaua‘i collected 4,000 pounds of plastic debris that were added to the container once it reached Hilo courtesy of a Young Brothers gratis-shipping grant that was received by HWF. Matson Navigation was another supporter of the project by extending the time allowed to fill the container for free. Kona Trans also provided StudioKCA with a discounted hauling rate for the project and the County of Hawai‘i’s Department of Environmental Management provided HWF space to store the 40 foot container for 12 weeks as volunteers contributed to fill it with plastic debris, making this effort an especially collaborative project by local businesses and residents alike.
The container will ship from Hilo on October 4, to begin its journey to New York, and later Belgium.
“We are thrilled to able to work with artists to create awareness installations, like this Blue Whale project, and simultaneously divert some of this plastic pollution from our island landfills. Since 2003, HWF and volunteers have removed nearly 225 tons of debris from the shores of Hawai’i Island. Whatever cannot be recycled, generally ends up in landfills. Innovative projects that include re-use, art, research, and recycling are always preferred!” said Megan Lamson, HWF Hawai’i Island Program Director.