A Wave of Trash

Curators’ Corner

A Wave of Trash

This photo from Java, Indonesia is beautiful and sickening at the same time.

Zak Noyle, a surf and water sport enthusiast who doubles his time in the water as a professional outdoor photographer, visited Java for a shoot with surfer Dede Surinaya.

Comprised of more than 17,000 islands with nearly 34,000 miles of coastline, Indonesia is a mecca for surfers who seek remote spots with perfect barrels. But with roughly 250 million inhabitants and no real trash collection infrastructure, the island country has long been battered by a seemingly insurmountable human waste problem. Residents in packed population centers have few other options but to throw their garbage in a nearby river or stream for storms and currents to carry to beaches.

“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.”

We firmly believe in photography’s unmatched power to shine light on unsustainable situations. While articles and initiatives have a tendency to fade into daily life, images – like that of a pristine aquamarine wave of trash – elicit true emotions and inspire action.