Today’s guest blog comes from Nicholas Rodchenko-Highfield, an 11-year-old student from Chinese International School in Hong Kong.

A New Foe Has Risen Against the Ocean

The planet has a variety of different elements: fire, earth and water are the three main elements.

The one that fascinates the the most is water. So delicate and gentle, yet able to break through mountains. The ocean also hosts a variety of wondrous creatures and breathtaking places. Unfortunately, a new foe has risen up against the ocean. Homo sapiens. Humans. We pose a greater threat than anything. Our weapon is trash. I wrote this to tell you why I love the ocean and why it needs to be saved.

I have loved the water since I was one year old. Ever since then, I have always loved going to the beach or just swimming. Then, in second grade, I learnt that there was a job that allowed me to be with the ocean and its inhabitants. Marine Biology. That became my obsession. It was all I ever talked about. The ocean this and marine biology that. I read about all the greatest marine biologists like Jacques Cousteau, Charles Darwin, and Stephen Hillenburg.

Lately though, the ocean has been becoming more and more disgusting. There is all sorts of trash and debris floating around. It’s killing the fish, driving away swimmers and surfers, and it’s tearing ecosystems apart. It’s a shame that at the rate we are going, my children won’t even know what a dolphin or what a pseudoliparis swirei is. According to a study done by the University of Georgia, 18 billion pounds of plastic trash winds up in our oceans each year. We can all be a hero for the ocean, but we must start now.

Nicholas cleaning up the beach in Bali.

Nicholas cleaning up the beach in Bali.

Recently, my family and I visited Bali and we stayed at the Ayana Resort and Hotel. Since Bali is famous for its beaches, me and family decided to go to a beach. When we got there, I was shocked to see so much plastic trash just accumulating by the shoreline. The plastic debris was extremely disgusting and I felt like it was some form of a garbage emergency (and this was at a 5 star beach hotel in Bali! ). I made the decision to dive into the water, brave the strong current and start grabbing trash and bringing it onshore. When some of the locals lifeguards on duty saw me swimming around and grabbing trash, they grabbed a paddleboard and a big box. They swam out to me and told me to get on the paddleboard. I sat on the front of the paddleboard scooping handful after handful of trash and stuffing it into the box. To no surprise, all the trash I picked up was all man made : from candy wrappers to big red lunch boxes! I even found a pair of crocs! After about an hour and a half, me and the two lifeguards had picked up all the trash that was within reach.

Water is essential for all living creatures. Is this really how we treat our natural resources? The nature so generously provided us with? Anyone can make a difference. Take me for an example. I am eleven years old. I live in one of the busiest cities in the world, Hong Kong. Yet, I can still find time and heart to help out the locals clean up the ocean in Bali when I visited the city during my easter break. I’m sure you can do the same thing too! A simple everyday thing to do is to not to throw your garbage in the trash, but instead, put it in the nearest recycle bin.

Currently  I am building a water sensor to record how polluted the water is by checking the PH levels in specific areas.  To start of with, I will put these water sensors into the water around beaches in Hong kong, such as: Shek-O, Repulse Bay, and Big Wave Bay. The water sensors will be programmed to do a weekly log into an app I call: Water Pro Logs. Water Pro Logs will be an app that is available on the app store. I will make the price of  Water Pro Logs either free, or 99 cents (USD). The idea is for swimmers and marine biologists to have an app that tells them whether or not to swim or whether the water is getting worse or better. I will get in contact with local marine biologists and they can preview my app to give me pointers and how to improve. They can also help me get some media coverage so hopefully my app will become used all over Hong Kong and maybe in the future I can install some in other popular swimming/surfing areas such as: Santa Monica Beach, Hawaii, Florida, and new Jersey to name a few. This is just  my plans to help people not get sick by swimming through plastic infected seas.

“The planet has unleashed its final cry for help. Become a hero. Help the planet before it’s too late. Help earth”. Read it. Remember it. Live it.