A photographer has captured an image taken near a tranquil Caribbean island of damage that has been done to the planet’s oceans with a shocking “sea of plastic and styrofoam”.
Caroline Power, who specialises in underwater photography, has been highlighting the damaged plastic waste is doing to our oceans.
She said watching plastic blanket of forks, bottles and rubbish between the islands was shocking.
“To see something that I care so deeply for being killed, slowly choked to death by human waste was shocking”, she said in an interview.
The key is to stop the trash before it enters the ocean because it is difficult and costly to remove the trash from the ocean.
“To make that happen, we have to improve waste management, environmental education and recycling facilities on a global extent”.
The dive team found the rubbish which was 15 miles off the coast of Roatan.
“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,” Ms Power said.
Over one of these seamounts, the photo of the diver in the water was located. It was disheartening to see the pristine area covered in garbage and trash.
She said they passed through the garbage which was floating in the water for nearly five miles. She added: “Everywhere we looked were plastic bags which were 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 animals like turtles, fish, whales and seabirds will by mistake eat 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 were so many plastic forks, spoons, drink bottles, plates, broken soccer balls, toothbrushes, a tv, and so many shoes and flip flops”.
Blue Planet Society, an organisation which is campaigning to end excessive fishing and excessive use of resources of the world’s ocean. It believes that the rubbish was originated from the Motagua River in Guatemala, washing into the sea during heavy rains.
They said the images were “incredible”, adding: “We see a lot of horrific images of environmental demolition. This is right up there with the worst.”
“It is an issue that Trash from Motagua River in Guatemala polluting Honduras coast”.
Ms Power adds, “Because of lack of infrastructure and education many people either burn trash or throw it in the river”.
Conservationists Oceana Europe said that the photos had left them upset, disturbed, sad and angry, but not surprised.
They added: “There will be more plastic than the fish in the ocean if we don’t change our behaviour”.
In numbers | Plastic in the sea
300 million – tons of plastic which are produced globally each year
12 per cent – amount of plastic which is recycled
Five trillion – pieces of microplastic in the ocean, with one rubbish truck load added each minute
11,000 – pieces of microplastic ingested by humans each year from seafood
780,000 – microplastics humans will ingest by the end of the century if trends continue
8.5 billion – plastic bags used in English supermarkets annually before 5p charge
6 billion – estimated bags removed from circulation annually at last count, an 80 per cent reduction.
12 minutes – the useful lifespan of average plastic bag
Ms Power says that she wants to encourage people by her photos so that their habits and lives can be changed to help protect and save this planet.
It was also inspiring; I seriously increased efforts to reduce my environmental footprint after seeing that,” she said. She hopes that the photos will motivate people to do the same.
She has asked to donate to the Roatan Marine Park.