Alison Teal, TV star and eco-adventurer filmmaker, recently traveled to Indonesia to work with the conservation group Orca365 and was stunned to see how the global plastic epidemic is impacting some of the world’s most naturally beautiful locales.
“Growing up and working in places like Bali, the Maldives, Mexico, and Hawaii, I’ve watched plastic pollution plague these pristine places,” she told The Inertia.
The short clip above is just a fraction of what Teal observed on her trip but it also proffers a few strategies that anyone and everyone can incorporate into their daily lives to wean off of single-use plastics.
“While positive efforts are being made by organizations and local villagers, I am scared that our planet is close to being completely suffocated by plastic,” said Teal.
To further the point, Teal worked with a photographer to create a series of photos depicting her in clothing made out of the plastic trash she found during her time in Indonesia. The “Plastic Girl” photo series represents Teal’s notion that “we will all be suffocated by plastic if we don’t look for alternatives to our daily plastic needs.”
“As plastic bags literally coated my face while swimming with the marine life, I gathered the bags and kept wrapping them around my waist,” said Teal. “Everything I’m wearing is an item of trash I pulled out of the ocean, hopefully saving the life of a marine animal. Plastic bags were removed from the water from right in front of a manta ray. The toxic smoke from burning plastic seared my lungs as I walked through what looked like an apocalyptic wasteland.”
To be clear, plastic pollution isn’t just an issue in Indonesia, it’s a global epidemic. According to recent statistics, every day 8 million pieces of trash enter our oceans. Upwards of 91 percent of plastic waste is never recycled. By 2050, the ocean may hold more plastic than fish.
“The time to act is now,” said Teal. “We need to seek alternatives to our daily plastic use to save our oceans, marine life, and reefs from devastation. Step by step we can work toward large form solutions to stop the production of single-use plastic.”
Together with Orca365, Teal hopes to inspire others to think global and act local – in other words, join local efforts to clean beaches, ban single-use plastics and the like due to the global impact these initiatives can have.
And if you happen to be in Los Angeles August 23rd, swing by the Patagonia store in Santa Monica to catch a showing of Alison’s new film Water Is Life.