Utila, Honduras

Author: Mikhael Moore

I came across something that most ocean divers have dealt with, but was quite a shock to my system. The dive started out amazing. My dive buddy and I swam past a wreck, met a giant crab, and we were just looking at a mantis shrimp when it started to get dark. I assumed it was a cloud covering the sun and paid it no mind. It got darker still; by the time it looked like twilight I realized something was strange. I glanced at my buddy and noticed she was signaling me to look at the surface. And that’s when I saw what blocked out the sun. Garbage.

There is something profoundly angering about swimming through garbage. Watching bits of plastic and detritus swirl around you makes you want to scrub yourself raw in both body and soul. You hate being human, because you know we are the cause of the miasma that surrounds. The filth in this photo stretched out of sight even when we surfaced and saw it from above.

We do not pay attention to our garbage. Once it leaves the house its safely out of sight and out of mind. Others will take care of it, see that its disposed of. We no longer have to worry about it. Diving in garbage tells another story. It tells how the whole world would rather ignore our filth than deal with it.

Ignoring this problem won’t work out in the long run. The garbage in this photo most likely ended up on Utila’s shoreline. If it missed the island it will break down and work its way around the world to the Great Pacific garbage patch (lower end estimates say the patch is around the size of Texas) or another trash vortex in the oceans. Plastic waste on land and in the oceans doubles every ten years. The long term implications of that is staggering.

I try to make a habit of not posting […] for causes, but I will make an exception for this. It’s a pretty simple thing, just pick up your plastic. According to CSIRO and National Geographic 20% of the plastic in the ocean is from marine sources, the other 80% is runoff from rivers, beach litter, and just general odds and ends kind of waste. So pack out what you pack in, and even after that make sure your trash ends up somewhere it’ll be dealt with safely and effectively. And remember; out of sight shouldn’t always mean out of mind.


Mikhael Moore studied Biology at University of Wisconsin -Superior.  Trained in Utila, he’s now a dive instructor on the island of Kauai, Hawaii.

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