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English diver captures images of contaminated waters near Bali, Indonesia

Rich Horner, an English diver settled in Indonesia, recently filmed alarming images of what appears to be an underwater dump near Bali. Littered with hundreds of plastic bottles and bags, the formerly pristine waters of Nusa Penida looked heavily polluted. This contamination proves a truly unsettling issue for Indonesia's nature and tourism.

English diver captures images of contaminated waters near Bali, Indonesia

Situated only a few miles from the paradisiacal tourism destination of Bali, Nusa Penida is an island known for its beautiful diving sites and colourful marine life.

However, recent images captured by an English diver prove that the destination has reached levels of contamination unseen to the date, with hundreds of plastic bags and bottles littering the once pristine waters.

In a video uploaded to social media and distributed by the BBC, Rich Horner is seen swimming through masses of floating litter at a dive spot usually frequented by manta rays.

When commenting on his shock and devastation at his underwater findings, Mr Horner wrote on Facebook:

“Plastic straws, plastic baskets, plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic, so much plastic! Surprise, surprise there weren't many mantas there at the cleaning station today. They mostly decided not to bother."

Adding to the statement, Horner said the level of plastic at that site varied throughout the year, and there was no plastic visible during the dry season but random clouds and slicks appear during the wet season. In fact, he went on to confirm that the trash in the footage had cleared by the next day.

If the contamination continued to spread, it could become a real problem for Bali and the rest of Indonesia’s waters. A new study by researchers from Australia, Italy and the US have found tiny plastic particles are a particular threat to "filter-feeding" animals like the manta rays near Bali, which can swallow up to 90 pieces every hour.

According to Elitza Germanov, lead researcher at Murdoch University lead researcher, microplastics — particles smaller than five millimetres long — contain toxic chemicals that, if ingested, could alter biological processes in the animals, such as growth, development and reproduction. Germanov declared:

"We are still trying to understand the magnitude of the issue. Microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives."

Amidst concern for nature, Janis Argeswara, a marine science student at Udayana University, also stated the country’s economy could take a hard blow. Argeswara declared:

“Bali's economy depends heavily on tourism for income. If the mantas disappear off Nusa Penida, people here wouldn't know what to do.”

Indeed, this unsettling news for the region’s environment could also be devastating for the country’s economy, as part of Indonesia’s great appeal for tourists is the amount of beautiful diving sites brimming with sea life. Large ocean species attract thousands of wildlife enthusiasts to the nation each year and make up a large part of Australia's tourism dollars. While the waters of South-East Asia are some of the worst affected in terms of plastic waste, rubbish is also entering Australian waters.

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