When a photo draws you in and yet repulses you at the same time, it’s got to be an incredible shot. And it is. Many of you may have seen this on your Instagrams or in the media over the last few weeks: a gorgeous sea-horse gripping a Q-tip / cotton bud as it bobs along.
At first glance, it’s stunning. The pink of the plastic against the turquoise sea perfectly frame the golden seahorse. You might think that the photo is even more powerful because the background is blurred. However, the truth is that photographer Justin Hofman didn’t edit the photograph to fade the background – the little speckles are bits of plastic.
Hofman was on an expedition off an Indonesian island with a friend. As the tide suddenly turned and brought with it lots of small pieces of plastic. The water became unclear and began to smell really bad. Hofman himself said “It’s a photo that I wish didn’t exist but now that it does I want everyone to see it…This photo serves as an allegory for the current and future state of our oceans.”
Ocean pollution is at all-time high.
Some sources estimate that there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. Here’s how…
- One million plastic bags are used every minute – each with an average lifetime of only 15 minutes
- In 1996, 3.8 billion plastic bottles of water were sold. In 2014, it was 57.3 billion
- More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year
- We have produced more plastic over the last ten years than the entire century before it
Water is one of the most valuable resources on our planet, if not the most valuable. Plastic pollution in our oceans is a tragic and unsustainable waste of that vital resource. We can’t even say we need to stop before it’s too late because it’s already “too late”. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our absolute best to limit the damage though.