Story of Ksh3 Million Plastic Statue at UN Nairobi Office

  • An image of the Turn off the plastic tap statue in Gigiri, Nairobi.
    An image of the Turn off the plastic tap statue in Gigiri, Nairobi.
    Benjamin Von Wong
  • As the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) celebrated its 50th anniversary at the UN headquarters in Gigiri, Nairobi, an iconic statue made of plastic caught the attention of many Kenyans.

    During President Uhuru Kenyatta's visit to the global body headquarters on Thursday, March 3, it was revealed that the the magnificent statue was designed by a Canadian activist, Benjamin Von Wong.

    Additionally, the statue was assembled on-site after going through an elaborate process that saw over 100 Nairobi residents taking part in the project.

    A woman from Kibera, Nairobi County posing for a photo.
    A woman from Kibera, Nairobi County posing for a photo.
    Instagram
    Benjamin Von Wong

    "The 30-foot-tall installation which was created by international artist and activist Benjamin Von Wong is located at the UN Headquarters in Nairobi where discussions of the Global Plastic Treaty took place.

    "The build-out of the installation provided temporary jobs for over 100 residents of Kibera. The masterpiece highlights that the plastic conversation revolves around recycling and seeks to get plastic production back under control," read a statement by State House.

    During the conceptualization of the statue, Wong targeted to partner with everyone around the globe who was interested in addressing the plastic menace.

    This informed his decision to a funds drive with a Ksh3 million target.

    "We estimate it to cost approximately Ksh3.4 million ($30,000) to store, transport, install, and insure and are looking for an individual sponsor or a collective of sponsors to help us make this happen," Wong stated then.
     
    Previously, the Canadian activist has been recognised for his advocacy towards the eradication of plastics through similar projects that he has undertaken.

    The activist stated that he was inspired to make the conversation about climate change interesting since many people in Kenya and around the world consider it boring.

    "As an artist and activist, I’m always looking for exciting ways to make the boring problem of plastic pollution more interesting. I’ve created campaigns from168,000 plastic straws, 18,000 cups and 10,000plastic bottles.

    "I knew that I needed to level up my projects, but I just needed to find the right partner willing to take a chance on a brand new big idea first," he stated.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta together with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria with other UN and government officials taking a photo in front of the statue in Gigiri Nairobi on March 3, 2022.
    President Uhuru Kenyatta together with President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria with other UN and government officials taking a photo in front of the statue in Gigiri Nairobi on March 3, 2022.
    PSCU