Louis-Matisse, 12, collects plastic waste from beaches near his home in southwest England. He turns it into art and posts it on Instagram as @minibeachcleaner.
Hi, Louis-Matisse. Tell us, what it is exactly that you do?
I do it because I love the animals and I didn’t like seeing them die and I care about the environment.
I’ve been doing beach cleaning all my life. (When) I was 9, my brother introduced me to Instagram and he said I should do it to record all my findings so that’s how my Instagram was there.
We started doing pictures and they are going well.
Do you look for special pieces to make a picture or just look at what you found?
We just get all the plastic we can find and then when we’re at home we sort it out. So we keep all the microplastics. All the bottles and cans we recycle, and if we can’t recycle it or do anything with it we just put it in the bin.
How much do you pick up? Do you go every day?
We try to go every day, as I do have school and homework. But on the weekends we do go every day and in holiday times we go every day.
Rain or shine?
Yes. It’s usually always raining so it doesn’t exactly make a difference any more. We’re so used to it.
Do you make a picture every day?
It’s usually the weekends, as I’m usually quite busy on week days. I do commissions as well.
What kind of commissions have you had?
I had a cat and a turtle was my most recent one. I’ve done rainbows, I’ve done hearts, I’ve done lots.
What’s most common thing to find?
It’s usually nurdles. As when we do beach cleaning on the shorelines, it’s practically just them everywhere.
It’s a very tiny piece of microplastic which you can barely see. You have to have quite a good eye. Most of them are the same colour as the sand.
That’s the size of fish food. So that’s what a fish would eat. So it’s in our food chain, then we eat it.
It’s like wrapping, packaging stuff. Yesterday, I got 50 bottle tops.
What are the most exotic locations from where you found stuff?
Maine. And lots of lobster tags from Canada.
What came from Maine?
It was this little piece of plastic with a thing and we reckon it was from a buoy, a fisherman’s buoy.
Do you get annoyed by the litter?
Yes. Especially in the summertime, we get a lot of toys as the spades and buckets are so cheap no one cares about leaving them.
And a lot of dog balls. We find about three to five every time we go.
Does it sometimes just feel it’s too hard?
Yes, especially after the storms. Last time we found almost 500 to 600 pieces in about an hour.
Can one person make a difference?
Yes. And every little helps. If everyone was beach-cleaning and no one was littering, the beach would be good. It would be more or less clean.
More people who are doing it, they’re telling me that it was me who inspired them to do it. To beach-clean.
That makes me feel good in myself and makes me want to carry on because I know I’m making a difference in the world.
What will you do when you grow up?
I’m not sure exactly yet but I am thinking of being a marine biologist and going out and studying the wildlife there.
Do you have a message for other children?
If they don’t live near the beach, they can go to their local parks. Or if they’re walking down the street and they see some litter, they could always pick that up because they’re still making a difference to the environment.
What would you like to say to WoW! readers
It doesn’t matter where you are. You can always help the environment and even if you picked up three pieces a day, you’re making quite a big difference. And recycle as much as you can!