Shocking images show a surfer paddling her way through trash-filled oceans in a bid to highlight plastic pollution.
TV personality and adventurer Alison Teal, dubbed the ‘female Indiana Jones’, can be seen exploring the coastline of Tulum in Mexico with piles of waste choking the waters and obstructing her path. Other photos show a similar situation in the popular tourist spot of Bali in Indonesia.
To highlight how bad the waste situation is, she took contrasting images of the Galapagos, where local communities are maintaining the islands via clean-up efforts.
Shocking images show TV personality and adventurer Alison Teal exploring the coastline of Tulum in Mexico with piles of waste choking the waters
Alison, who is from Hawaii, uses social media to document her work tackling pollution and other major global issues
Their hope is to maintain the area as one of the ‘last pristine places on Earth’ and protect its unique wildlife.
Alison, who is from Hawaii, visited the islands of Isabella and Santa Cruz before being joined by locals in San Cristobal where she experienced the communal beach clean-up.
The clean-up consisted of island residents meeting to do their bit to restore any littered land back to its clean state.
The explorer hopes that the footage will serve as a model for other countries to follow in order to help beat the plastic pollution epidemic the world is currently facing.
Revealing how the Galapagos has succeeded with its waste elimination efforts, Alison said: ‘The secret of keeping the Galapagos paradise is that the locals love their archipelago – protecting the Galapagos is in their hearts.
‘The children learn in school not to throw plastic and they even teach the adults and visitors.
Alison sits in a sea of waste she collected from a trip to Bali, Indonesia
Alison models a bikini made from plastic waste she picked up from a beach in Tulum, Mexico
An underwater shot of Alison exploring the waters off Bali. She is seen with a number of plastic bottles she collected on the swim that pose a danger to wildlife
‘Family is the basis for taking care of the conservation – they take pride in their island and the children learn how important it is to keep plastics and other pollution out of the environment.
‘Getting to join in on both above and below water beach clean-ups I saw first hand the true dedication of the local communities in keeping their homeland clean.
‘If we have a global shift in consciousness, our entire planet can operate this way as well.
‘The only plastic and other trash that I was able to find and collect was in more populated harbor areas.
‘Where you have people you have waste. However the locals have a highly effective management system for compost, trash, and recycling. What does make it in the ocean is cleaned up often times by the children who excitedly clean up plastic like it’s a treasure hunt.
‘It’s inspirational how the Galapagos compared to some of the other places in the world that I have visited where I could surf through oceans of rubbish.’
The results of a community beach clean-up in the Galapagos, with young and old getting involved
Despite the Galapagos being dubbed one of the last pristine places on Earth, Alison claims that the plastic pollution worldwide is having an impact on its waters and the wildlife. There are now only about 600 couples of Galapagos penguins left as prey species decline and waters warm
Whilst visiting the islands, Alison also noted how the locals are doing all they can to help preserve the rare wildlife which frequents the land. About 80 per cent of the land birds and 97 per cent of the reptiles and land mammals are endemic to the area and not found anywhere else in the world.
The keen conservationist continued: ‘Galapagos is taking admirable conservation action within the archipelago, however climate change poses a very severe threat to many of the animals, some of which are highly endangered.
‘For example there are only about 600 couples of Galapagos penguins left as prey species decline, waters warm and breeding becomes more stress-induced and, therefore, less successful.
‘Animals such as the marine iguana are considered vulnerable to extinction due to climate change effecting their only food source – so they need to be protected.
‘Alongside this, the island has the Galapagos giant tortoise, which is the largest and longest living tortoise, so its habitat needs to be preserved as it has almost gone extinct once before.
‘By the locals doing the weekly beach cleans, it at least eliminates the chance of the animals being tangled in plastic or eating trash.’
The intrepid blonde says that the Galapagos is ‘inspirational’ with its approach to the waste pollution problem
Two Galapagos penguins give Alison a surprise as she comes up for air while snorkelling
But despite the Galapagos being dubbed one of the last pristine places on Earth, Alison claims that the plastic pollution worldwide is still having an impact on its waters and the wildlife.
She concluded: ‘The Galapagos is working hard to protect its fragile ecosystem. They conduct weekly beach clean-ups and the government has outlawed single-use plastics.
‘However the Galapagos is under threat by plastics carried on ocean currents from the rest of the world.
‘They have seen labels [on objects] from as far as Saudi Arabia, China, other South American countries, and the U.S.
‘We must come together as an entire planet to protect our environment, our oceans, and the animals that call home.’
Growing up with wildlife photographer parents, it was almost a guarantee that Alison would become an adventurer herself, after being toted along on their constant travels.
Now the blonde, who conquered the popular US TV show, Naked and Afraid, on Discovery, uses social media to document her work tackling pollution and other major global issues.
And while she can usually be spotted wearing pink, she’s as green as can be – even making her trademark pink bikinis from recycled plastic bottles.