The Trash Traveler – Awareness with Fun and Positivity

3 tons of plastic were collected in 2 years of traveling in Portugal. 1.1 million cigarette butts were collected in 2 months by 600 people and 70 NGOs in Portugal. 1,6 tons of plastic were collected while hiking every single meter of the Portuguese coastline in 2 months together with 80 NGOs.

In 2019, I quit my job in the biomedical industry to do good for the planet. As I live in my van for 4 years, I faced immense plastic pollution everywhere I went in Portugal: In the waves while surfing, at the beach, anywhere in nature even in remote places. I took my Ukulele and started to sing little fun awareness songs about the trash I collected every day. It developed from a vanlifeman show to a community project in Portugal with a network of NGOs and many people. Together we are stronger in protecting the planet. It's even crazy as I am German and do all this with my broken português skills.

Things I hope to get into people's mind:
- Vanlifers: Please leave any place better than you found it. We want to enjoy nature, so we can just clean our sleeping places and shed good light on this movement.
- my motto: "It's not about cleaning." I ask people to clean, but in the end, we have to realize e, that picking up 3 tons of plastic is just a drop to the reality of 8 million tons of plastic that enters the ocean every year. Cleaning serves to sensibilize and open eyes. We got to reduce our trash production, otherwise, waste management is just impossible. world's
- Try to reuse every item you own and give something old value again. Only with a circular economy mindset, we can properly manage our world's waste issue. As an example, I create art to open my eyes. I created a surfboard out of a wrong discarded fridge, 2000 cigarette butts, microplastic and covid masks. It's even possible to surf it.

let's care together... Every little act can affect others to start caring too. A chain reaction to protect the planet.

Thank you to all who care.

You can find me on…

Aya Mariano

Published in June


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