EarthEcho International and SC Johnson Launch Youth Ambassador Program Targeting Rampant Plastic Pollution in the Great Lakes

Monday, May 6, 2024 – An estimated 22 million tons of plastic pollution enter the Great Lakes annually, staggering numbers that contribute to the global plastic crisis and speak to the urgent need for action.  As the fourth session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-4) wrapped up in Ottawa last week, with the goal of negotiating a global plastics treaty, more eyes are on the plastic pollution crisis. And, perhaps now more than ever, young people are dedicated to making a difference in the plastic waste crisis.

Today, EarthEcho International and SC Johnson announced the inaugural Marine Plastics Ambassadors, a dynamic group of 22 young advocates (ages16-22) from the United States and Canada who will develop and execute plastics pollution reduction campaigns and projects in their local communities. 

“Building pathways of leadership and professional opportunities for young ocean conservation advocates is key to eliminating marine debris and restoring the ocean to health and abundance,” said EarthEcho InternationalFounder Philippe Cousteau. “These passionate young leaders bring diverse perspectives, vision and a sense of urgency to the critical issue of marine plastic pollution.” 

“It’s great to see this dynamic group of young adults tackling the plastic pollution crisis and stepping up as leaders in their local communities – we can all learn from them,” said Sheila Redzepi, Chief Communications Officer, SC Johnson. “As a company, we view plastic pollution as a significant environmental challenge that needs to be addressed. We are grateful for this meaningful partnership with EarthEcho and we can’t wait to see the final projects from these young advocates – as they’re sure to be inspiring.”

Meet the 2024 MarinePlastics Ambassadors who kicked off their program in Chicago, IL exploringThe Blue Paradox immersive exhibit, presented by SC Johnson and ConservationInternational:

·     Jenna Barad, 19, Madison, Wisconsin

·      Sownok Barua, 17, Hamtramck, Michigan 

·      Jack Benson, 16, Chicago, Illinois

·      Clara Brown, 16, Merrickville, Ontario

·      Xavier Cunningham, 17, Minneapolis, Minnesota

·      Maya Heller, 17, Buffalo Grove, Illinois

·      Mutaz Ismael, 17, Detroit, Michigan

·      Siya Jariwala, 17, Chicago, Illinois

·      Ryann Jibson, 19, Whitehall, Michigan

·      Dev Katyal, 17, Ottawa, Ontario

·      Arianna Lawrence, 19, New York, New York

·      Winnie Lin, 17, New York, New York

·      Yalina Lopez, 20, Berwyn, Illinois 

·      Olivia Miller, 17, Alpena, Michigan

·      Samantha Moorhead, 17, Glen Ellyn, Illinois

·      Lucas Prokopinski, 17, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin 

·      Francisco Rodriguez, 20, Queens, New York

·      Aana Shenai, 18, Chicago, Illinois/Cincinnati, Ohio

·      Khushi Soni, 16, Toronto, Ontario

·      Joey Wu, 20, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

·      Marlin Xie, 16, Elmhurst, New York

·      Doris Zheng, 16, New York, New York


Marine Plastic PollutionFacts

·    Over 400 million tons of plastic are produced around the globe each year - two thirds of which are single-use plastics, designed to be used once or for a few minutes and then thrown away.

·    Approximately 11 million metric tons of plastic waste enters oceans annually (the equivalent of a garbage truck load of plastic every minute) with estimates of that number nearly tripling by 2040.

·    Plastic litter and resulting microplastics have devastating effects on marine ecosystems. Microplastics can now be found throughout the food chain, including within humans.

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Media Contact, EarthEcho International:

Bryan Hughes