Did you know that in less than 30 years, there could be more plastic in the ocean than fish? Currently, it’s estimated that 1000 rivers carry 80% of ocean-bound plastic. And, close to 1 million marine species are killed every year from plastic pollution.
To protect our oceans and marine mammals for generations to come, the time to act is now. Check out these remarkable youths who are raising awareness of the ocean plastic problem.
Nina Gomez- Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
At just 4 years old, Nina Gomez is making waves as an eager environmentalist in her hometown of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Municipal Urban Cleaning Company has even named her the youngest “Green Agent”. Along with her father, Nina helps rid the beaches and waters of debris in Guanabara Bay. There’s about 10 million people who live in the area and depend on fishing as a source of income, not to mention the incredible array of unique species of birds and marine animals. Nina hops on a paddleboard and scoops up any debris she finds in the water because she recognizes the harmful nature of the garbage to fish and turtles. Nina’s father is inspired by his daughter's actions and hopes that their efforts improve Brazil’s environmental policies.
Kids Against Plastic- United Kingdom
In 2016, Amy and Ella from the UK, were a couple of homeschooled kids intrigued by the UN Global action goals. Particularly, the goal of “Life below water”. They learned all about how plastic waste negatively impacts the environment. And so, their mission was to get UK supermarkets to carry alternatives to single-use plastic bottles. Over time, Amy and Ella have recruited other kids in the UK and developed an app to log how many pieces of plastic they’ve picked up. The charity enrolled 1000 schools and 50 businesses and events in the Plastic Clever program— an award program designed to reduce single-use plastic.
Bye Bye Plastic Bags- Bali, Indonesia
Bye Bye Plastic Bags is an NGO, founded in 2013 by Melati and Isabel. The two girls were inspired by influential people in history who’ve made a positive global impact like Gandhi. Their vision is to rid the world of plastic bags by planning beach cleans up around Bali. What’s more is that they've spoken to over 100,000 youths internationally, donated 8,000 educational leaflets, attended 450 events, and formed 50 teams of kids in 29 countries. Their cause was well-received because, in 2019, the Bali government officially banned the use of single-use plastics. Melati and Isabel hope to decrease plastic waste in waters by 70%.
Kids Saving Oceans- Florida, United States
After watching shark week, Miles from St.Petersburg, Florida developed an admiration for all marine life. To protect marine species from negative environmental factors, he took things into his own hands and in 2018, created environmentally-friendly products. Kids Saving Oceans’ t-shirts, stickers, and hats have designs that show support for the cause. To add to that, all proceeds from each sale go to marine preservation charities like Force Blue, the Surfrider Foundation, Marine Mammal Center, and many more. Plus, Miles only uses organic and sustainably sourced cotton, water-based ink, and the manufacturing and shipping process is carbon negative. In 2021, he was selected as the youth award winner from the Environmental Protection Agency and won the Goal Getter Award from Tampa Bay Lightning and Advent Health. By the age of 18, Miles would like to raise $1,000,000 to save oceans and beaches.
Children for the Oceans- France
In September 2018, Thomas Lesage from France set sail around the world to experience first-hand plastic pollution and overfishing issues. After witnessing the atrocities, Thomas founded Children for the Oceans, an NGO dedicated to raising youth’s awareness to protect the oceans. Thomas’ goals for 2019 were to strengthen partnerships with other NGOs that protect oceans in Africa and Asia, attend international conferences, and develop tools backed by scientific partners for ocean ambassadors. Impressively, in 2019, Thomas made a speech at the European parliament to increase engagement on ocean preservation.
Solgaard prides itself on upcycling plastic from the ocean to make premium travel gear. And, with every purchase, 229 ocean-bound plastic bottles are removed. By 2025, our mission is to reduce plastic waste in our oceans in half. To learn about Solgaard’s initiatives, take a look at our mission.