- A photographer truly captured the extensive damage done to the Earth’s oceans with a shocking “sea of plastic and styrofoam” image taken near a tranquil Caribbean island.
Caroline Power, who specializes in underwater photography, has dedicated her career to highlighting the damage plastic waste is doing to our oceans. She said viewing the plastic blanket of forks, bottles, and rubbish between the islands Roatan and Cayos Cochinos, off the coast of Honduras, was “devastating”.
She told The Telegraph, “To see something that I care so deeply for being killed, slowly choked to death by human waste was devastating. Once the trash is in the ocean, it is incredibly difficult and costly to remove. The key is to stop the trash before it enters the ocean. In order for that to happen, we need to improve waste management, environmental education and recycling facilities on a global scale. This is a developed nation (first world) problem as well.”
The dive team found the worst of the rubbish about 15 miles off the coast of Roatan heading towards the Cayos Cochinos Marine Reserve.
Ms. Power recalled, “We were on a dive trip to a set of islands that don’t quite break the ocean surface. They are one of the most pristine dive sites in this part of the Caribbean. The photo of the diver in the water was actually over one of these seamounts. To see an area that is supposed to be pristine covered in garbage and trash was disheartening.”
She describes how they passed through floating garbage for “nearly five miles”, by saying, “Everywhere we looked, plastic bags of all shapes and sizes: chip bags, zip locks, grocery, trash, snack bags, other packaging. Some were whole and the rest were just pieces. Sadly, many turtles, fish, whales, and seabirds will mistake those bits of plastic for food. We then reached an area about two miles wide that had multiple trash lines that stretched from horizon to horizon. There was also a seemingly infinite number of plastic forks, spoons, drink bottles, and plates. There were broken soccer balls, toothbrushes, a tv, and so many shoes and flip flops.”
Blue Planet Society, an organization dedicated to ending overfishing and the overexploitation of the world’s ocean, is certain that the rubbish originated from the Motagua River in Guatemala, getting washed into the sea during heavy rains.
Calling the images “unbelievable”, they said, “We see a lot of shocking images of environmental destruction. This is right up there with the worst. Trash from Motagua River in Guatemala polluting Honduras coast has been an issue in region for some time.”
Ms. Power adds, “There is a lack of infrastructure and education, so many people either burn trash or throw it into rivers”.
Conservationists Oceana Europe was “shocked, sad and angry, but not surprised” and said, “If we don’t change our behaviour now, we’re going to have more plastic than fish in the ocean.”
Ms. Power expresses hope that her photos will encourage people to “make changes to their habits and daily lives to help protect and conserve this planet”.
She said, “It was also motivating; I drastically increased efforts to reduce my environmental footprint after seeing that. I hope the photos will inspire people to do the same.”