'Trash Girl' Won't Back Down: Despite Bullies, 12-Year-Old Keeps Up Anti-Litter Fight

She picks trash on her way to and from school. And she's not going to let anyone stop her.

I've mentioned before that Britain has a new pastime. Right alongside cricket, pubs (yes, pubs are a totally legitimate pastime) and moaning about the weather, post-Brexit Brits appear to have found one other thing they can agree on:

Litter, and in particular beach litter, is rubbish.

That's why they've embraced the 2 Minute Beach Clean. And now 12-year-old school student Nadia Sparkes is making headlines in the Eastern Daily Press for her own version of this anti-litter campaign. It seems Nadia has been collecting litter every day along her 2-mile ride to school, picking up bottles, cans and anything else she finds along the way, and putting it in her bike basket to bring home later. She has, according to the newspaper, already collected two recycling bins worth of other people's litter. Despite her altruism, she has become the target of bullies mocking her for her good work.

And here's what she has to say about the name-calling:

“I’m not going to stop doing the right thing because of them, and if they are going to call me trash girl, they can say it with respect. I’m doing something to protect the world they also live in. It’s everyone’s job. We are all responsible for keeping this world safe, instead of believing that it’s always someone else’s job.”

As someone who myself got grief as a teen for picking up after the beach parties my friends and I would sometimes have, I am delighted to hear that kids like Nadia are still standing up and standing out. And while the local name-calling might be painful, the outpouring of support she has received via social media will hopefully validate her choices (not that she needs much validation, by the sound of things!):

The other inspiring thing about this story, for all of us who care about the world we live in, is the fact that this is clearly a learned behavior:

Mrs. Sparkes, 41, from Hellesdon, said it is not just her daughter who makes an effort to help the environment. Nadia’s grandad helps keep the beach clean in Mundesley, while Mrs. Sparkes often picks up litter when visiting the seaside.

So friends, if you feel so inclined, wherever you are in the world—head on over to the comments section of the Eastern Daily Press article and tell Nadia what you think of her efforts.