When we see a piece of litter in the street we don’t always do the right thing and pick it up. We worry about germs or what else we might find with that piece of litter.
One 13 year old from the U.K. has made it her mission to pick up trash on her way to school every day.
Nadia Sparkes has made quite a name for herself as a young eco-warrior, inspiring other youngsters to do the same.
But the young teen has paid a high price for her good deeds. Certain students at her school turned against her, calling her cruel names and bullying her.
She’s even been physically hurt and shown a knife.
Nadia cycled to and from school every day in Hellesdon, Norwich, and started to pick up the many number of discarded cans and bottles she spotted. The amount shocked her.
She would fill her bicycle basket with litter, leading to bullies giving her the nickname Trash Girl.
Children were “throwing things at her and calling her Trash Girl”, her mother Paula Sparkes said.
This strong teen was undeterred by the name calling and decided to embrace the term.
Nadia started a ‘Team Trash Girl’ Facebook page where she encourages others to share their litter-fighting stories.
“I wanted to find a way to help everyone support one another, to help fix the planet’s problems before it becomes unfixable,” she writes on her page.
“So, please try to pick up 3 pieces of litter today. Show us what you have found. Let’s all support each other to make the world a better place.”
After her story first attracted the world’s media, Nadia became an ambassador for the wildlife charity WWF and has won international recognition and awards.
She was even immortalized in cartoon form, and, being a keen artist herself, is also publishing her own environment-themed cartoon in a local newspaper, according to Bored Panda.
Her bullies became more aggressive toward her; she had cups of orange juice thrown at her and was even shown a knife and punched.
Her story attracted the attention of local and national press and questions were asked as to why she had to endure such torment.
‘This hit a nerve with me’
School teacher and eco-warrior himself Matt Willer read about Nadia’s story and wanted to do something to help.
The Reepham High school teacher told the BBC: “I’d heard of the amazing work she was doing collecting rubbish and how, very sadly, she was being bullied because she was doing something different.”
“This hit a nerve with me and we discussed how Nadia might like to come and have a look at Reepham High.”
Mr. Willer said the teenager would be a “huge asset” to the allotment project.
“All the volunteers look forward to working with her as we all set a sound example about respecting the environment and living more sustainably,” he added.
Nadia had a “brilliant” start at her new school and proudly wore her uniform made from recycled plastic bottles.
Fight against litter
“She is literally wearing litter, it’s like it’s meant to be,” said mom Paula Sparkes.
Nadia’s new school is about 11 miles from her home but she hopes to continue litter-picking on her way to the bus stop.
Nadia just keeps going from strength to strength in her fight against litter, see more of her involvement in the cause in the clip below.
What an amazing girl Nadia is. Her bravery in setting herself apart from other kids in her fight to help save the planet is so admirable.
She has already inspired thousands of youngsters to do the same. Please share this story so more can support her and be inspired too!