A diver in Indonesia came across another stark reminder of all the plastic pollution swirling in the oceans.
British diver Rich Horner was exploring a site known as Manta Point near the island of Nusa Penida, the largest of three islands off the southeastern coast of Bali, when he spotted a soup of jellyfish, foliage and garbage. While Bali has become a hot spot for tourists over the years, it’s also infamous for the trash that collects on the island’s shores and waters.
Horner posted footage of the trash-filled site, usually frequented by large manta rays and other marine life, to Facebook on Friday.
“The ocean currents brought us in a lovely gift of a slick of jellyfish, plankton, leaves, branches, fronds, sticks, etc…. Oh, and some plastic,” Horner wrote in the caption of the video, which has been viewed nearly 1 million times.
He said the water was filled with plastic bags, bottles, cups, plastic sheets and sachets, straws, baskets and “plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic, so much plastic!”
Videos like Horner’s are not uncommon.
Diver Lauren Jubb shared a similar video, also filmed at Manta Point in February. Her video showed manta rays swimming through plastic bags and other trash.
“I have never been so horrified and heartbroken as I was when I saw the amount of plastic and rubbish in the bay,” Jubb wrote in a Facebook post of the video.
“The Manta’s had plastic bags around their mouths and on their bodies whilst swimming around the rubbish in search for food.”
During Indonesia’s wet season, heavy rains cause the islands’ rivers to swell and flush trash onto beaches and into the ocean. Government officials said they have to clean 5 metric tons of trash daily in the wet season.
“Luckily for us, here, the currents that bought it into our bay will take it away again, in a few hours/days,” Horner wrote of the trash in his video. “But unluckily for us, everywhere, it doesn’t really go ‘away.’”
Last March, Indonesian officials pledged to spend $1 billion on nationwide efforts to reduce the amount of plastic and trash in its waters, The Guardian reported. Then in December, government officials declared a “garbage emergency” after tides brought over 50 metric tons of trash onto the beaches daily, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.
Horner told the BBC that he typically sees some level of trash during dives, but he was alarmed by last week’s encounter.
“So we see the occasional cloud of [pollution] and it comes and goes with the currents within a few hours but that was horrifying, that amount,” Horner said.