Youth Fight Plastic Pollution

Youth fight plastic pollution

By Ella Moseley

There is an estimated 75 to 199 million tons of plastic waste currently in the ocean, with another 33 billion pounds of plastic entering the marine environment every year. Read what these four teens are doing to make a global impact.


Anna Du’s microplastic-detecting device

17-year-old Anna Du from Massachusetts is not only bringing awareness to the plastic in the ocean but is also coming up with ways to solve the problem. The high schooler has created a high-tech invention that can detect microplastics in the water, and the overall goal is to “make the cleanup effort much easier,” she says. As a young child, Anna loved going to the beach, but when she realized much of the objects she thought were sea glass were plastic, she decided to get to work. With help from renowned scientists, Anna has reached her goals and hopes to grow her efforts in the future. 

Hannah Testa’s Taking on the Plastics Crisis

Hannah Testa promotes solutions for the pollution problem, and “through a combination of speaking engagements, articles, social media, videos, partnerships, alliances, and campaigns,” Testa has educated people of all ages.  At only 19 years old, Hannah has shared her passions through her book, Taking on the Plastics Crisis. To help the bigger picture, Testa says we can do little things like refusing single-use plastics and trying to buy second-hand every day because it can help reduce our overall carbon footprint. 

Melati Wijsen’s impact on plastic laws in Bali

In 2013, Melati founded “Bye Bye Plastic Bags” with her sister. Together, the two have successfully banned plastic bags, straws, and styrofoam on their home island, Bali. Among many accomplishments, Wijsen has been featured on CNN Heroes and Forbes’ 30 under 30. Above all, she wants to empower youth to fight for change. 

Fionn Ferreira’s magnetic device

Ferreira is a  20-year-old scientist and anti-plastic pollution innovator from Ireland. His main focus is to solve the pollution crisis, and he has worked towards this by inventing a device that removes microplastics from water using a magnetic ferrofluid. Ferreira is currently developing his visions for his startup’s commercialization and application through help from Robert Downey Jr’s Footprint Coalition and is working on his first book, which he hopes will inspire people to make a change.