A sea of plastic trash hovers near Caribbean island

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trash view
credit: Caroline Power Photography (used with permission)

"There is no away."

Caroline Power was traveling to a set of underwater islands off the coast of Roatan, Honduras, when she came across a vast floating mass of plastic trash. The islands she had hoped to explore were said to be 'unspoiled by humans', and yet all this plastic was hovering in the water directly above the site Power was visiting; it was so densely packed that it blocked out much of the sunlight.

Being an underwater photographer, Power pulled out her camera. The result is the following collection of photographs, all of them a sickening depiction of the consequences of consumption and our human obsession with convenience and disposability.

Power told TreeHugger what she saw:

"The majority of the trash were small pieces of plastic and Styrofoam that had been broken up by wind and waves. There was also a seemingly infinite number of plastic forks, spoons, drink bottles, and plates. We saw Styrofoam [takeout] containers and packaging. There were broken soccer balls, a TV, and so many shoes and flip-flops, mostly Crocs, for some odd reason."

While most of these pictures were taken in September and October 2017, Power says she's been noticing and documenting the problem over the past six years. Pollution in Roatan is getting worse, and it's not because of the recent hurricanes in the eastern Caribbean. Nor is the problem unique to Roatan. Every coastal community faces the same challenge -- having the world's crap collect along its shore and tide lines.

Our consumption habits must change, and hopefully these photos will inspire people to embrace a new way of living. There are many resources available for zero-waste, plastic-free living here on TreeHugger, so take a look. In the meantime, Power says individuals can help by donating to a local non-profit organization called Roatan Marine Park, whose projects include environmental education, recycling, and alternatives to plastic programs.

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