Indonesia’s Java is one of the world’s top surfing destinations, as well as a marvelous casual vacation spot, famed for its pristine waters, gorgeous beaches and ‘killer’ waves. Photographer Zak Noyle recently made a trip there to shoot Indonesian surfer Dede Surinaya while he would ride some waves. During one of their shoots they arrived in a remove bay of Java, but to their great dismay instead of being welcomed by the renowned crystal waters, they were appalled by a most depressing sight: plastic bottles, tree stumps and a myriad of all sorts of other trash and debris.
“It was crazy. I kept seeing noodle packets floating next to me,” Noyle told GrindTV. “It was very disgusting to be in there; I kept thinking I would see a dead body of some sort for sure.”
Most likely, the trash didn’t come from nearby, but was instead swept by currents. Indonesia is home to some 17,000 islands, where a culture and etiquette surrounding trash disposal is lacking. Locals typically dispose of their waste in the street or in river beds, after which it inevitably is washed out to sea. At the same time, authorities reportedly do not offer the means for residents to dispose of their trash. This is why it’s typically thrown in the water or – in some instances equally damaging – burn it. The stench of burned plastic is a familiar odor through out Bali.
“My boyhood fantasy felt disappointingly ruined,” he wrote. “I couldn’t believe it. Trash in the lineup. And not any lineup. A lineup right out of my imagination – the perfect lineup … spoiled by trash.”
Tibi is a science journalist and co-founder of ZME Science. He writes mainly about emerging tech, physics, climate, and space. In his spare time, Tibi likes to make weird music on his computer and groom felines.