In Late February 2022, delegates from 193 countries trooped into a United Nations Office in Nairobi for the 5th session of the United Nations Environment Assembly where they were met with the above giant tap spewing plastic waste.
According to Benjamin Von Wong’- an artist who has been creating giant taps using plastic trash to raise awareness over plastic pollution, The Degenerate Trash Pandas — an online Web 3.0 community of 20,000 dedicated to collecting NFTs on Solana funded his project to build the tap.
Through an initiative they called ‘Pandas not Plastic Initiative,’ they sought 1,000 $SOL, with degens as well as other $SOL holders, contributing small amounts on fundraising platforms such as Stata Protocol. Some of the community members also minted degen Panda NFTs with funds going to the fundraise.
As you will see, the web 3 community funds did not just go to the art installation.
In Nairobi, Kenya, Von Wong’ worked with a humanitarian organization called Human Needs Project (HNP) which provides social welfare services such as water and education for free to the community of Kibera, (often billed as the largest slum in Africa).
HNP helped Von Wong’ to find people in the community who would help in installing the giant tap at the UN office in Nairobi:
“With the funds provided to us by the Degenerate Trash Pandas, we hired over 60 women from the community of Kibera – mothers, widows, and ladies – that were negatively impacted by the pandemic to clean and tie three tons of used plastics altogether.”
– Benjamin Von Wong’
In exchange for its support, the fundraising by the Degenerate Apes will also go towards HNP to get a circular waste-management program off the ground in the Kibera slum, which itself is a site of a lot of plastic pollution, part of a cleanup in the slum that is expected to create 1,000 jobs and more that will include:
- Clean up their community
- Accelerate reuse systems
- Provide micro-financing and training to help the community
For members of Degen Pandas NFT community, the project was one way of connecting NFTs and the value there with environmental conservation, which is one of the values by members of the community.