Eerie swim at renowned Bali dive site reveals alarming extent of plastic pollution; video

Eerie swim at renowned Bali dive site reveals alarming extent of plastic pollution; video


Eerie swim at renowned Bali dive site reveals alarming extent of plastic pollution; video

Rich Horner braves elements to reveal what’s swirling in the currents. Photo: Rich Horner

If a scuba diver’s recent swim through Manta Bay off Bali was meant to illustrate the alarming extent of plastic pollution in our oceans, consider his mission accomplished.

Rich Horner used a pole-cam this week to show the extent to which non-biodegradable plastic and other garbage flows the currents around Bali and other Indonesian islands.

Manta Bay is a globally renowned diving and snorkeling destination. Giant mantas utilize the bay as a cleaning station – where tiny fish remove their parasites – and represent the primary allure for divers.

But on this day it seemed best for humans and mantas alike to avoid the area or risk becoming ill.

“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 on Facebook. “Some plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic cups, plastic sheets, plastic buckets, plastic sachets, plastic straws, plastic baskets, plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic, so much plastic!”

Horton, a Bali resident, added: “Surprise, surprise, there weren’t many Mantas there at the cleaning station today… They mostly decided not to bother.”

Giant mantas inhabit tropical waters around the world. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Indonesian waters are plagued with pollution. 9News reports that the nation last year pledged to spend about $1 billion per year to reduce the level of plastic and other types of oceanic pollution.

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The scene provided by Horton is reminiscent of a scene presented five years ago by Zak Noyle. The surfer-photographer’s images showed large pollution-filled waves breaking over the heads of other surfers.

Rich Horner swims through garb with a video camera. Photo: Rich Horner

As bad as the pollution problem was during Horton’s dive, he said currents swept the area clean the following day.

“As expected, the next day, what the currents bringeth, the currents taketh away!” Horton wrote. “The divers who went to Manta Point today report they saw no plastic/trash at all. Great for the mantas coming in for a clean at the station, but, sadly the plastic is continuing on its journey, off into the Indian Ocean, to slowly break up into smaller and smaller pieces, into microplastics.

“But not going away.”

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