By Patrick Winn
13 December 2016

(PRI) – Here in this fishing village, on the island of Java, the surf teems with kaleidoscopic color. Each wave is littered with garish bibs and bobs.

The water is speckled with synthetic hues: Coca-Cola red, day-glo green and every other color in the crayon box. There are monochromes as well: buoyant white blobs that, at a distance, look like 1,000 invading jellyfish.

It’s all plastic trash, of course.

Here floats the detritus of 21st-century consumption: soda bottles, Pampers and, since this is Indonesia, lots of instant noodle wrappers.

Aena, 12, in her village (Muara Angke) by Jakarta, 3 October 2016. The shoreline is smothered by plastic filth. This is what your backyard can look like if you're one of the 3.5 billion humans who don't receive trash pick-up services. Photo: bkkapologist / Instagram

Those jellyfish? Plastic shopping bags. You can go five kilometers into the sea, the village fishermen say, and never stop seeing those lousy plastic bags.

“It’s infuriating,” says Alec, a 39-year-old mussel catcher. He’s hunched over his boat’s outboard motor with a wrench, face streaked with motor oil. The engine is all gunked up with plastic.

“This happens almost every day,” he says. “We can barely work. No matter where you go, the sea is covered in plastic.” [more]

Climate change, meet your apocalyptic twin: oceans poisoned by plastic

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