Marine Plastic Pollution at our Doorstep

Plastic pollution is not just a problem of developing countries – it’s a challenge right in front of us. Time and time again, we’ve seen how plastic pollution lines our coasts and impacts our wildlife. And every time, we’ve felt helpless to do anything about it. This made us question: Why shouldn’t change be possible? How do we make an impact on plastic pollution as individuals? Can we challenge the status quo? Glancing at problems and solutions locally, our documentary Above Sea Level sets out to answer these questions. And we’re starting right in front of our doorstep: in Northern Germany

Our Mission

56.5110° N, 3.5156° E

Above Sea Level is an immersive short documentary, diving into the challenges and solutions of plastic pollution on a local level. Traversing across the North Sea coast of Germany, we bring together the perspectives of inspiring young activists, communities, scientists, NGOs, and experts in plastic recycling. By highlighting the emotional and intellectual journey of individuals fighting against marine plastic pollution, we aim to send a message to young generations: that they can incite global impact on a local level. That their voice matters. And that together, we all can make a difference.

Why the North Sea?

Many documentaries travel thousands of Kilometers to expose plastic pollution in foreign countries. And yet, the issue is also present locally. For Above Sea Level, we want to highlight the problem of marine waste at our doorstep. The North Sea is one of two seas in Northern Germany and is most greatly affected by plastic pollution. It is estimated that approximately 20,000 tons of plastic are dumped into its waters yearly.

 

As a crucial habitat to more than 10 million seabirds and approximately 27,000 seals, plastic pollution in this region poses a great challenge above and below the surface. Its effects on wildlife are clearly visible on local islands in the North German bay. Meanwhile, increasing marine pollution puts coastal communities at risk, as their livelihoods depend on the wellbeing and beauty of the sea.

Seabirds
The island Helgoland is the primary breeding ground for seabirds in the German North Sea. Besides algae, the seabirds use colorful marine plastic to build their nests. This poses a deadly trap, as they become entangled in the cords, leading to starvation or strangulation.
Coasts
Marine plastic pollution often washes up on our shores. This contaminates habitats for land wildlife, which uses the coast to breed. In addition, coastal communities depending on tourism suffer from the effects of plastic pollution, which impacts their travel destinations.
Food Chain
Microplastics and toxins in the sea are passed along our food chain. With each feeding level, the amount of plastic increases. This has a stark affect on both humans and wildlife, such as toxicity and serious health issues.
Community
Sustainable fisheries are on the rise. Yet, dumped fishing gear remains the biggest plastic polluter in the sea. As seas acidify through decomposing plastic, they become uninhabitable for marine wildlife. This comes full circle, putting fishermen's livelihoods at risk.
98%

SEABIRD NESTS

in Helgoland's breeding colonies contain plastic waste.

600,000 CUBIC METERS

of plastic estimated to be present in the North Sea.

42%

PLASTIC LITTER

in the North Sea comprises fishing nets, ghost nets and ropes.

20,000 TONNES

of plastic are estimated to be dumped into the North Sea yearly.

Why Now?

Our time is running out. Every minute, one garbage truck full of plastic is being dumped into our oceans. If no action is taken, marine plastic pollution will increasingly impact our ecosystems, health, and community. Research institutes and NGOs are working hard towards finding solutions to marine plastic. Yet, it is still unclear how soon this will be. Community efforts can start immediately. Community efforts can make a difference. Therefore, the question to ask is “why not now?” The sooner we provide audiences with actionable ways to reduce marine plastic on a local level, the sooner we can start making change. The problem is now. And we can act on it now.

Team

VIKTORIA PEZZEI

Co-Producer & Campaign Manager

Viktoria is a multi-faceted nature photographer from Bavaria. She captures the beauty of the world to make it accessible to others.

LANA TANNIR

Co-Producer & Film Director

Lana is a professional landscape and wildlife photographer & filmmaker specializing in nature conservation and animal welfare projects.

NATASCHA RUPP

Marketing & PR

Natascha is the founder of Munich-based marketing and communications agency Rupp PR, which focuses on sustainable travel and lifestyle.

GIANCARLO GALLINORO

Project Research & VFX

Giancarlo is a VFX artist and a freelance photographer aiming to inspire awe for our natural world while advocating its preservation.

What Makes Us Different?

Plastic pollution documentaries are plenty. And yet, they draw our focus away from the local issue – to Asia, Africa, South America. Rather than tackling the problem from the inside out, audiences are directed look beyond, to witness plastic pollution “elsewhere”. Meanwhile, the factual format of local German reportage targets older generations when presenting pollution in the North Sea.

 

Above Sea Level reinterprets this storytelling approach. Using a cinematic style, we reveal the issue from a local perspective, showing that it is prevalent where we least expect it. By featuring thought-leaders, young activists and innovative researchers, we engage young generations with a contemporary, inspiring and emotional message: that they have the power to change the world by starting at their own doorstep.

Partners

Join Us for a #PlasticFreeNorthSea

Help us spread the message about our documentary campaign. Download our ambassador/sponsor packages. Post one of our stories on your social media channels & make sure to tag us under @abovesealevelfilm and #plasticfreenorthsea. Let’s work together to make a difference!

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