Danish author Hans Christian Andersen wrote The Little Mermaid in 1836 and since then, it has been reworked many times. Probably the most popular version of the story is the 1989 Disney film. However, even this was 30 years ago, so German artist Stephanie Hermes (aka s0s2) decided to create a modern-day mermaid. Appropriately titled The Little Trashmaid, her series masterfully reimagines ocean pollution in a way that is as accurate as it’s depressing.

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“I’ve enjoyed drawing since I was little,” s0s2 told Bored Panda. “Luckily, my awesome parents supported and encouraged me from the very beginning. After school, I was able to study art for three years, following with a job in the gaming industry. I’m currently becoming a freelance artist.”

“But regardless of your education, I believe that everyone can become an artist as long as they have the passion and motivation to keep going!”

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“I would say that my style was mostly inspired by American cartoons from the ’90s with a touch of Japanese anime. I really love drawing funny expressions and cartoons are perfect for that.”

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“In May, a close friend suggested drawing a mermaid, referring to the Mermay Challenge,” s0s2 said. “When I started sketching, I wondered what she should be wearing. To be honest, I found those classic seashell bras boring and thought to myself, ‘I need something more realistic. What would a mermaid wear these days? What would she find in the ocean?'”

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“That’s when the plastic bag came to my mind. It triggered lots of new ideas and I came up with more and more stuff to add. ‘The modern mermaid wouldn’t have a pretty life like Ariel,’ I thought. She’d have to deal with our plastic!'”

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“I think we all [had to deal with pollution] at some point,” s0s2 said. “Not just in the ocean, but the streets as well. Seeing trash laying or floating around makes me sick to my stomach. I really don’t know what’s so hard about picking up your trash after yourself. After all, we aren’t the only species living on this planet. We need to pay more attention to our surroundings! Plastic doesn’t decay.”

“Also, I’ve had a really hard time looking up reference pictures for the Trashmaid comics. Seeing those photos of horribly polluted oceans always hit me hard. Something needs to be done about this problem.”

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“It’s important to be aware of the situation,” the artist continued. “There’s a lot we can do! Dispose of trash properly (even if it’s not yours), conserve water, recycle, use less plastic and go by foot more often than by car. Use products that are environmentally safe. The resources on this planet are not limitless. Support green-oriented companies. Don’t cut trees, plant them!”

” The Earth doesn’t need us but we need it. So we have to respect and take care of it.”

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“I’ve just set up a Patreon account for The Little Trashmaid with 20% of the monthly donations going towards funding ocean conservation organizations.”