A 400-kilogram orb made of compacted recycled plastic has been unveiled in Hong Kong as part of a 12-piece art installation for the UN’s World Environment Day on June 5.

The orbs – called “Heirlooms” – are painted with a dense ultra-black paint that symbolises “current perspectives on waste disposal,” organisers say. Each accurately represents the volume of plastic waste generated in Hong Kong in around one minute.

Photo: Camel Assembly.

The installation is part of UN Environment’s #BeatPlasticPollution initiative, in collaboration with female creative community Camel Assembly and Hong Kong-based designer Thomas Herron.

Artist’s impression. Photo: Dan Calderwood.

Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said: “The world is waking up to the fact that plastic pollution is one of the most urgent environmental issues of our time, but it’s also something that we can solve.”

Hong Kong discards 2,132 tonnes of plastic waste per day, according to the Environment Protection Department of Hong Kong.

Artist’s impression. Photo: Redd Angelo.

Keshia Hannam, co-founder of Camel Assembly, said: “This is our city, this our harbour and our ocean. This is our plastic and our future. When we take responsibility for being part of the problem–understanding and accepting the majority of the plastic in Hong Kong landfills is household waste–we realise we can actually do something about this problem right now. The call to action is simple: if you can’t reuse it, refuse it.”

The installation will be on display until June 10 at HART Hall. Other installations are planned in Auckland, Bali, Bangkok, Beijing, Ho Chi Minh City, Manila, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Tokyo and Yangon. Afterwards, artworks will be repurposed or recycled.

Jennifer Creery

Jennifer Creery is a Hong Kong-born British journalist, interested in minority rights and urban planning. She holds a BA in English at King's College London and has studied Mandarin at National Taiwan University.