Updated: Nov 22, 2019
Brooke Pyke is a professional underwater photographer. The majority of her photos are uplifting and beautiful, showing the magical world beneath the water's surface. Sadly though, as our waste continues to spill into the ocean she sees scenes like this one more and more often.
"For quite a while now I have been spending a lot of time diving east of Bali, Indonesia on a small Island called Nusa Penida. I currently dive very regularly, 2 times a day 6 days a week. Over time you do see big changes in the ocean. From natural seasonal changes as you would expect but other changes as well. Marine debris such as plastic pollution has become a more and more common sight for us here in Penida and I know only too well that this is not even the tip of the ‘trash-burg’ so to say. With approx. 8 million tons of trash ending up in our oceans every year, the amount I see daily is only a small part."
The enormity of plastic in the water can at times be so overwhelming and incredibly depressing. It makes you feel helpless as you try to scoop up as much as you can on the dive and fill your BCD pockets with the trash knowing your barely making any difference. Practically grabbing plastic bags and packaging, straws and water cups out of the way of the Mantas so they don't swallow it. But this is just the big pieces. In regards to Manta Rays who are filter feeders, the microplastics are really the problem here which are often so small you can't even see them. You may be familiar with a video from Bali by Rich Horner that went viral earlier this year (video link here). This was a perfect example of what we witness here after wet season ends. The plastic trash we see around the islands here is not an all year round issue but it certainly is becoming worse every year.
There was a dive this year I had at Manta bay (when i took these photos) and the amount of trash was immense. From anything like plastic take away cutlery, to tampons, nappies, laundry liquid packaging… you name it I saw it. I had some guests diving with me at the time and I was actually embarrassed. It's like taking a good hard look in the mirror and seeing just what we are doing to this planet. Coming up from the dive my guests instantly were looking for someone to blame and asking why is no one doing anything about it. Its so easy to blame the governments, manufacturers and companies selling these products who of course have some responsibility. I feel we should also start looking more at ourselves and what ways do we contribute to this problem.
My images of this Manta Ray swimming amongst a cloud of plastic pollution was shared on Instagram and it surprised me how many people didn’t believe they were real photos. This to me is such a tragedy that people are so unaware that this is even going on. I had comments such as “this is definitely photoshopped” “this is fake” and many things along those lines. Maybe it is so shocking that you can’t believe it until you see it for yourself?”
You can view more of Brooke's incredible photos on her website and Instagram page. You can also view her blog and design services.
- Brooke Pyke
These photos show the heart-wrenching reality behind our
consumption behaviors. The time for change is now. Never underestimate the power behind your actions, every little step you take against plastic pollution is powerful.
If you think that you could never manage a perfect zero-waste lifestyle well, that’s okay! What matters is that you take action where and when you can. Begin your eco-journey by simply becoming more conscious of the global effect behind your consumption behavior. These photos by Brooke Pyke are a great place to start. Make small changes such as ditch plastic straws, switch from plastic wrap to reusable silicone stretch lids, begin to shop bulk with reusable shopping bags/containers. The snowball effect will begin to take place. Slowly but surely you will realize how simple, affordable, and gratifying it is to live a low-waste lifestyle.
It's only 1 plastic bag, said a billion people! Eco Rio believes in the power of numbers. Together our actions are powerful, together we will create change. Join us in the fight against plastic pollution.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly”