Alderman Van Tongeren opens Floating Cities, bringing Sustainability Week at THUAS to a close

A sustainable food truck. A lunch with environmentally-friendly nibbles for the entire administration at the university of applied sciences. A week-long opportunity to exchange clothing you’re tired of, but that’s still in good condition, for someone else’s clothes. Research into possibilities for reducing the production of additional waste and/or combatting food waste. A chance for staff members and students to measure their CO2 footprints. From 4 through 8 October, a wide range of activities were held at The Hague University of Applied Sciences in order to draw attention to Sustainability Week. While some of these were organised by staff members, many more were put together by all the involved students. For instance, and in particular, the students affiliated with The Green Office initiative, who put in weeks of hard work to combine all these individual initiatives into a cohesive sustainability-themed programme. On Friday afternoon, that programme concluded with the formal opening of the art project ‘Floating Cities’, with Liesbeth van Tongeren, The Hague’s Alderman for Sustainability, Environment and Energy Transition, performing the honours.

Floating Cities

Mumin Moallin, a third-year Finance & Control student, was the driving force behind ‘Floating Cities’: an art project inspired by the work of artist Carolien Adriaansche, who uses plastic waste as her primary medium. Since October 2020, in fact, one of her unique works of art has been floating on display in the Berlage pond in front of the Museon. Moallin: ‘This is her way of focusing our attention on how we pollute the earth with plastic. With this floating plastic city in the pond, I want to show everyone that you can do a lot more with plastic waste than throw it out. Plastic can be a resource. But you can also prevent the use of too much plastic.’

Collecting plastic

To create the plastic city in the pond, students and staff members recently collected around 50 kg of plastic waste. The entire ‘harvest’ was incorporated into the artwork floating in the water in front of THUAS. Urooj Abbasi, an International Communication Management student, says: ‘With these floating cities, the artist is confronting the viewer with the reality of our plastic waste in a very direct way. These cities are something nature cannot break down; they show us how – if we don’t change – we will one day be floating in a sea of plastic waste.’