From picture postcard to plastic swamp

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As a follow-up to our previous post, “Floating Trash Islands: Another Problem for the Caribbean,” here is an article from The Daily Mail on the set of horrifying photographs by Caroline Power, who shared the images online to raise awareness of the problem and to show much plastic is devastating the ecology of the Caribbean. The article also references the new BBC documentary, Blue Planet II, which also highlights this destruction. Gareth Davies and Xantha Leatham report:

A distressing set of photographs from the Caribbean have shed a light on just how big a problem plastic pollution in the ocean has become. Beaches in Honduras are being choked by a solid mass of bottles, wrappers and other recyclable waste turning the once-idyllic island into a floating landfill site. In one of the photographs, a diver can be seen wading his way through the rubbish and in another a man on horseback grimaces as he looks down at the wrecked beach below him. It comes hot off the heels of the BBC documentary Blue Planet II fronted by Sir David Attenborough which highlighted plastic’s devastating effect on our oceans and poisoning sea creatures.

It is thought the rubbish was washed into the sea from nearby Guatemala, carried on rivers swollen by the recent rainy season flowing through towns and villages. The sight disgusted photographer Caroline Power, who shared the images online to raise awareness of the problem. She wrote: ‘This has to stop – think about [the plastic you use in] your daily lives.’

John Hourston, of the Blue Planet Society, which campaigns to protect the oceans, said it was the worst example of plastic pollution he has seen. He pointed out that plastic gets broken down into microscopic particles that enter the food chain when plankton and fish eat them. He added: ‘It is thought that 90 per cent of sea birds have ingested some sort of plastic, and there are many examples of turtles and whales mistaking plastic for food. ‘We all have a part to play in reducing plastic waste but manufacturers and government need to take the lead. It’s a global problem which needs a global solution.’

The Daily Mail has long campaigned to end the scourge of dumped plastic. The ‘Banish the Bags’ campaign led to a huge reduction in single-use plastic bags at supermarkets, and now we are calling for a deposit scheme on plastic bottles. ‘In a major victory for our ‘Ban The Beads’ campaign, last year ministers pledged to outlaw toxic microbeads which are poisoning our seas.

[Photo above: AFP/Getty Images.]

For photo gallery, see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5114157/Idyllic-Caribbean-island-ruined-rubbish.html

 

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