Picture the scene: you're lying on a Caribbean beach, the Sun shines down on the sand, and waves of multicolored plastic garbage lap at the shore.
OK, so it's not exactly what you think of when you imagine a tropical paradise. But recent shocking footage from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic shows just how much plastic pollution has ravaged the environment.
Released by environmentalist group Parley, the horrifying video shows almost unbelievable levels of plastic waste filling the ocean at Montesinos Beach, with the water entirely invisible under tonnes of bottles, polystyrene, and other assorted garbage. Revolting waves made entirely of trash slosh up on the shore.
"Seeing this firsthand is absolutely shocking, but what’s worse is that this is not news in Santo Domingo," explained Carmen Danae Chamorro in a statement for Parley. "This situation happens every time it rains heavily, that’s why it’s important to shine a light on what has been ignored."
The group claims to have already cleared 27 tonnes (30 tons) of plastic waste from the ocean, working with local military branches, government workers, and over 500 public workers. Despite the massive local effort, and support from the city council and mayor of Santo Domingo, the depressing reality is that much of the plastic waste collected will not be recycled or reclaimed. "Machinery and trucks have been drafted in to deal with the massive tide of plastic, much of which will have to be sent to landfill because it is mixed and contaminated," notes the statement.
Although this video is particularly grim, it is far from the first stark reminder of the effect our pollution is having on the ocean. Back in March, footage of a diver swimming in Bali went viral as it showed an ocean infested with plastic waste, and last year a shocking series of photos showed the Caribbean seas covered in a layer of garbage.
"In the past we sent postcards with magical beaches and palm trees. Now, it's waves of plastic trash," Cyrill Gutsch, founder of Parley, said in the statement. "Unless we all act now, future generations won't even believe the postcard scenes ever existed."