Photographer Nick Pumphrey hoped to encounter manta rays on a recent dive trip. He got his wish, but he also came face to face with a marine crisis: ocean plastic pollution.
“These heartbreaking images were taken near Nusa Lembongan, a tiny island just off the coast of Bali,” Pumphrey told The Coral Triangle. “Some of Bali’s best dive sites are in this area. But in rainy season, plastic pollution that has gathered in Bali’s waterways is washed out to sea. Thousands of tons of rubbish, some of it from neighbouring Java, is carried on local currents to wash up on beaches—Bali’s south west coast is particularly hard hit.”
He added, “This problem is hardly exclusive to Bali—but because of the island’s international reputation as a tourism destination, it tends to get coverage in the media.”
Pumphrey is an ambassador for Take 3, an Australian nonprofit that campaigns to clean up beach and ocean trash for the sake of marine animals and their habitat. The group’s name is its goal: To get each person who visits a beach or waterway to “take three pieces of rubbish” away with them when they leave.
Pumphrey’s images make a powerful case for cleaning up marine plastic pollution.