Lilly von Treuenfels beach clean-up in the Maldives

Lilly von Treuenfels surfing in the Maldives

A boat trip changed Lilly’s mind-set about plastic pollution

When 19 year old SWOX athlete Lilly von Treuenfels talks about surfing and the ocean, she calls it her “happy place”. Lately she had the chance to go on a boat trip in the Maldives. During a photo session close to a non-resort island, she discovered old shoes and parts of an old AC as well as tons of water bottles floating in the ocean. Learn about Lilly’s go-getter attitude for a clean ocean and what you can do today!

How did you end up doing a surf trip to the Maldives?

I was filming for a clip with Talent & Pros and it was super fun! The waves were some of the best ones I’ve ever surfed.

What was your daily routine like on the boat?

We spend the entire trip on the boat, which was a novelty for me. Thankfully I didn’t get seasick! Most days I got up and jumped in for a surf first thing. For our photographers down patrols and sunset session worked out well, too, since this is when the lighting is best. Fresh fruit and even pancakes were ready when we came back in after dawn patrol. Our chef made the yummiest meals for us. Especially the fresh caught fish was amazing. While the crew took a nap after that, most days I jumped in for a second session.

When did you realize that there’s a trash problem on the islands? What did you do about it?

When you set foot on an island, which is not a resort hotel, the problem is overwhelmingly obvious. For a special drone shot, we went to a very small island between two bigger ones. It was horrible on this little Island. On one side I found parts of trashed ACs and shoe soles and on the other side I found a ton of plastic bottles. I started a beach clean-up.

But to give you an idea how bad it was, after 10 minutes I had about 4 huge trash bags full of plastic, but one could not see any difference. Later that day, our captain told us, that lots of crews just dump their trash into the ocean.

Lilly von Treuenfels collecting plastic bottles on the beach
What’s your personal conclusion from this experience?

First of all the knowledge about marine litter needs to be shared and spread. I organize and join beach clean-ups as often as I can and I always collect at least 3 items of trash from the water or the beach during every surf session. Together we are stronger, that’s why I think Initiatives like for example 4Ocean, are a great way to get started to decrease the massive pollution of our oceans.


GET STARTED TODAY and learn the 10 best ways to reduce plastic pollution from the Natural Resources Defense Council

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