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Kelly Mill fifth-grader fights plastic pollution

Plans program May 4 at Post Road Library

POSTED: April 26, 2014 3:45 p.m.
For the FCN/

Hannah Testa, a fifth-grader at Kelly Mill Elementary School, will present the documentary “Plastic Paradise” at 2:15 p.m. May 4 in the Post Road Library.

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WEST FORSYTH — A Kelly Mill Elementary student is hoping to help Forsyth County go a little greener.

Hannah Testa, a fifth-grader, will present a program titled “A Call to Action: Plastic Pollution, What You Didn’t Know” at 2:15 p.m. May 4 in the Post Road Library.

During the program, Testa will present the documentary, “Plastic Paradise,” followed by a question-and-answer session with the film’s director, Angela Sun via Skype.

According to information on the documentary’s website, it focuses on the island of Midway Atoll, at the heart of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which has become a giant wasteland for the plastic garbage of three continents.

“Plastic Paradise” examines the impacts of the area on the people of Midway Atoll and marine life in the Pacific.

The Post Road Library program is free and open to the public. But since seating is limited to 100, those interested in attending should register through the library’s website, www.forsythpl.org. The program is designed for ages 9 and older.

Testa said after watching “Plastic Paradise,” she knew she wanted to share the documentary with as many people as possible.

“I’ve been learning more and more about pollution in the world and it just breaks my heart,” Testa said. “The more I learn, I just want to spread the word and tell people to make simple shifts in their daily lives to help our environment.”

Testa presented the documentary to faculty at her school last week. Madison Cook, one of her teachers, said the program was enlightening.

“I think it is hugely important to watch because it is a wakeup call,” Cook said. “People go through the daily motions of life like buying groceries bagged in plastic and drinking out of to-go cups made out of Styrofoam with plastic straws.

“They don’t stop to think how it is affecting the world, the people and things that live in it and their future.”

Cook added that Testa, who has also been active in supporting several animal causes the past few years, has “a big heart.”

“She has a huge passion for animals … her passions extend beyond the animal kingdom though,” she said. “She is also very concerned about the future of our planet.

“Her understanding of the environment and the effects humans can have on it is remarkably developed for someone her age. She cares deeply about how plastics … harm our planet.”

Testa said during the program, she and Kevin Smith with Keep Forsyth County Beautiful will share simple ways in which people can reduce their plastics use.

One easy way, according to Testa, is to bring reusable, canvas bags when shopping.

“Each person uses 500 plastic bags per year in the United States,” she said. “So for an average family of four, that’s 2,000 bags in our landfills each year. But if we bring recyclable bags that’s 2,000 bags [per family] out of our landfills, streams and oceans.”

Lisa Echols, youth services supervisor at the library, said she was proud to join with Testa for the program.

“I’m always looking for unique and educational programming to bring the families of Forsyth County and I’m thrilled we’ll be sharing Hannah’s message about the dangers of plastics with the local community,” Echols said. “And I’m even more thrilled to share Hannah’s example that no matter how old you are, you can make a difference in the world.”

 

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