Whale of a lesson on ocean pollution

Just how much waste is in our oceans? More than enough to build this four-storey-high whale.

Made of 5 tonnes of plastic waste pulled out of the Pacific Ocean, the artwork is a powerful reminder of the other 150 million tonnes of waste still swimming in our waters, said New York City design firm StudioKCA, which created the piece.

The work was commissioned by the organisers of the 2018 Bruges Triennial, a public event held in the Belgian city of Bruges from May until September.

Titled Skyscraper, the whale sits in one of the city's main canals, arching over the historic Jan Van Eyck Square.

With the help of two Hawaiian organisations, it took StudioKCA just four months to amass the five tonnes of waste that had washed up on the shores of Hawaii. The rubbish ranged from tubs and bottles to sandals and toys.

Scientists estimate that 8 million tonnes of plastic waste are thrown into the oceans every year.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2018, with the headline 'Whale of a lesson on ocean pollution'. Print Edition | Subscribe