Original post Carol Drive For MailOnline – “The other side of paradise…”
It’s renowned for its luxury accommodation, turquoise waters and breath-taking beaches. However, these images show the darker side to the Maldives – with huge amounts of rubbish washed up on the island’s pristine sands. Award-winning filmmaker Alison Teal, 27, visited Thilafushi – or Trash Island – an artificial island created as a municipal landfill situated to the west of Malé.
She said she was shocked at the amount of plastic bottles she saw floating in the crystal-clear sea and strewn across the usually idyllic beaches.
Accompanied by Australian photographer Mark Tipple and his colleague Sarah Lee, the group took these shocking images and footage to document the luxury destination’s waste problem.
There are more than 400 tonnes of rubbish dumped on the Maldives’ island every day – a figure attributed largely to the tourist industry on which the chain of atolls relies. Each visitor generates 3.5kg of waste per day.
Alison, from Hawaii, who supports organisations that recycle plastic into fashion, including bikinis and jackets, has made a documentary about her time in the Maldives.
She said: ‘I was overwhelmingly shocked by the amount of plastic rubbish which covered the uninhabited, picturesque island we stayed on.
‘This was only one island – I couldn’t bear to imagine what the other 1,200 islands looked like, covered in rubbish.
‘To leave the island, we actually made a raft out of bottles. As we paddled to our rescue boat, I swore I would come back and do something about the plastic pollution.’
Compelled to help out after witnessing the waste problem first hand, Alison took part in a beach clean-up, with a team of volunteers and now helps companies which make rubbish into clothes.
Alison said: ‘I collected rubbish in an effort to save the highly threatened biosphere.
‘In only half an hour, covering about 50ft of beach, we gathered a huge amount of plastic bottles which the villagers took great pride in making plastic fashion.
Alison, who champions organisations which turn plastic into useful items such as bikinis, said: ‘I would love to see plastic disappear from this world all together – particularly single use plastic such as bottles, straws, and plastic bags.
‘But in the meantime, I would rather see it in bikinis, jackets, and eyewear than strewn across the beautiful beaches of the Maldives, and other beaches around the world – with bottles that have drifted all the way from America!’
She added: ‘The landfill island is a sort of eerie, beautiful apocalyptic art piece. Instead of looking at this wasteland as horrific, I see it as an opportunity to make a lot of pink bikinis!’ Campaign: Alison said that she also found plastic bottles in the Maldives that had drifted all the way from the US Plastic bikini: Alison is campaigning to have the mountains of waste found on Thilafushi turned into bikinis, jackets and other clothing