How a 9 Year Old Who Picks Up Plastic is Helping to Save the Planet

Meet Lilly, age 9, who moved from London, England, to the Netherlands a few years ago. An animal lover, Lilly is on a mission to stop plastic pollution from harming animals and the environment.

Lilly picks up discarded plastic and other waste all over her community and encourages her friends and neighbors to do the same. She explains: "When I was learning to count in Dutch, I counted 91 pieces of plastic [that I picked up] and I thought should I be happy or mad or sad about this?" 

To people who litter or don't understand the problem of plastic pollution, Lilly says:  "Have they ever seen the way animals suffer when they eat this plastic?"

Lilly and her family recently founded Lilly's Plastic Pickup to raise awareness about the problem. She's already organized cleanups in her neighborhood, asked her local McDonalds to switch to paper tops and paper straws for their cups, and even stopped balloon releases. 

"One time we saw a picture of a baby puffin wrapped around in balloons and it made me very cross," Lilly says. Lilly and her mother spoke to the local car company and convinced them to stop releasing balloons.

"Balloons are bad for birds and turtles too," she explains. "Once they go up, they have to go down!”

Lilly has organized several cleanups in her community where she recruits her friends. "I'm trying to do something to convince my friends to save the entire planet!" 

"My real inspiration is grandpa because he loves the environment and does nature lessons at my school," says Lilly. "I love my family because they support what I do. A little thing like picking up plastic can make a big difference!"

Cheers, Lilly!