Teen keen to help reduce ocean pollution
At just 13, Magnus Henneberger has decided his future may lie with protecting the ocean environment.
The Saltus Grammar School student discovered an interest in marine biology after a talk at an assembly by an American environmental group, Plastic Tides.
The organisation, launched by Christian Shaw, helps to promote the problem of plastics and pollution in the world’s oceans.
After the presentation, Magnus decided to introduce himself to the organisers and expressed his interest in helping.
He told The Royal Gazette: “I heard how they paddleboard around to raise awareness about pollution and I thought it looked really cool. I already knew a bit about pollution in the ocean and it interested me. I would like to become a marine biologist; it was those guys who made me decide that.”
Magnus was fortunate enough to be able to attend a summer camp organised by Plastic Tides in Ithaca, New York.
“During the camp we actually went out and camped by a railroad,” he said. “We collected samples there looking for plastic microbeads, often found in cosmetics, in the water.
“We used paddleboards and they made a filter that was attached to the boards on the water. We found seaweed, plantlife and microbeads.”
Magnus must have made a good impression — he was accepted to become an official ambassador for Plastic Tides in Bermuda.
“I help to promote the project and advise people to not buy products with microbeads in them,” he said. “If you are going to buy a product, make sure there is no polypropylene or polyethylene in the ingredients.
“Some products even advertise that they have microbeads. These can get into the ocean and it becomes more toxic.”
Last year, the Bermuda Society of Interior Designers (BSID) launched a Christmas wreath auction in which participants could design and make a wreath to be displayed in the Washington Mall.
Magnus made a wreath out of ocean debris he collected during a beach cleanup. The woman who won the bid decided to donate it to the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum and Zoo, where it is now on display.
“I didn’t expect a wreath made of garbage to be on display — it was more about making a point to all different age groups about what the ocean will look like if we keep polluting it,” Magnus said.
“To have it donated to the Aquarium was great because lots of people can see it when they walk in and the Aquarium does lots of work for the marine environment.”
All proceeds of the auction were donated to the Coalition for the Protection of Children and the BSID Scholarship Fund.
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