Based on a true story, the booklet “Mariana and the battle against the ghost storm: the threat posed by marine debris” was developed by the Brazilian project “EnTenda o Lixo” (Understand the Debris, in Portuguese). The story is about the first time a little girl, called Mariana, went to the beach and includes scientific information on ocean pollution aiming to increase ocean literacy in young people.
Ocean literacy seeks to increase public awareness about the ocean, but it is also an approach to encourage all citizens and organizations to have a more responsible and informed behaviour towards the ocean and its resources. The booklet provides a good learning resource to support UNESCO’s Ocean Literacy framework and complements the IOC-UNESCO Ocean literacy for all toolkit.
In the booklet, Mariana was enthusiastic to finally get to see marine life, instead, she came across a beach full of people, litter, and almost no animals. Throughout the story, Mariana and her new friend, a vulture called Urulisses, fight different ghosts made out of items frequently found on beaches. In a fun way, the mysterious characters tell their trajectory from the moment of consumption until they reach the beach. The story emphasizes the willing of the items to be correctly disposed and also the potential risks that marine debris bring to marine and human life.
In real life, Mariana is a girl from Rio de Janeiro (RJ) who organised a cleanup event with her friends and family after getting schocked by the amount of debris at Praia das Pedrinhas (Little Rocks beach) located in the famous Guanabara Bay, São Gonçalo, RJ. The “EnTenda o Lixo” team aimed to point out this story in order to inspire similar stories and actions. In addition to raising awareness about the problem of litter at sea, the booklet authors also aim to incite reflection on consumerism and solid waste generation and management.
The booklet was developed by the biologists Alexander Turra, professor and UNESCO Chair on Ocean Sustainability at the Oceanographic Institute of São Paulo University, and Márcia Regina Denadai, president of Instituto Costa Brasilis (Costa Brasilis Institute), by the oceanographer Elisa Van Sluys Menck, and by the biologist and illustrator Monique Rached. Monique, in addition to being passionate about nature as a whole, with sensitivity, managed to transform the script into expressive and fun drawings, work that was part of her course in Scientific Journalism at LabJor of the State University of Campinas (Unicamp).
The creation of the booklet was possible thanks to the cultural support of DOW, Braskem, Sectorial Forum of Plastics for a Clean Sea and Plastivida, and institutional support from Secretariat of the Interministerial Commission for the Resources of the Sea (SECIRM), Brazilian Navy, and from the Environmental Ministry of Brazil.
Have a great and fun time with the story and puzzles!
Prof. Dr. Alexander Turra
Dr. Márcia R. Denadai
MSc. Elisa V. S. Menck
BSc. and illustrator Monique Rached