CUMMING -- A local middle schooler and environmental activist partnered with a Forsyth County state senator to have Feb. 15 proclaimed as Plastic Pollution Awareness Day at the Georgia State Capitol.
Hannah Testa, 14, of Cumming, spent the last few months working with Sen. Michael Williams, R-District 27, to raise awareness of the growing health crisis due to plastic pollution.
An event commemorating the day will be held at the capitol from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 and is believed to be the first of its kind nationwide.
Testa is currently making a quilt made up of hundreds of commitments from local residents and businesses on actions they will take to reduce their use of disposable plastic products, which she will show at the event.
She said her goal is to make people aware that they can take simple steps to help reduce pollution.
“The aim is to make residents aware of the impact that plastic pollution has on our environment,” Testa said. “Not only does plastic end up on our streets, streams, and oceans, but also affects 600 species of marine life, through ingestion and entanglement, often killing them. Scientists are finding plastic in our food chain, too.”
North Carolina ocean scientist Bonnie Monteleone and Atlanta artist Mitch Cherry from the Primitive Urban Living artist group will also have various works of art shown on Feb. 15, and a number of environmental leaders from across the nation will join Testa and Williams at the capitol.
This is not the first time the teen has affected change.
In May 2016, she was given a Presidential Volunteer Service Award with a signed letter from President Obama and the Prudential Spirit of Community Award for her efforts in educating others about wildlife and plastic pollution and its effect on animals.
She has also been honored with Senate Resolution SR1034 from the Georgia General Assembly, which Williams presented.
“I’m very impressed by Hannah’s efforts, especially by someone of her age,” Williams said. “By educating the public, we can help people to make informed decisions.”
Angela Sun, an award-winning sportscaster, filmmaker, producer, writer, and environmentalist, praised Testa for her work on Plastic Pollution Awareness Day.
“Hannah is a light of hope and is a true example to never underestimate a young person’s capability to evoke change,” Sun said. “It’s been a pleasure to watch her blossom and grow in passion and beauty inside and out.”
The Feb. 15 event is free and open to the public and will be held in room 123 of the State Capitol building.
For more information about Testa’s work, visit her website at hannah4change.org/.