Indonesian surf champion Dede Suryana rides a wave filled with trash on Untung Jawa Island…
This amazing photo, which is both heartbreaking and breathtaking at the same time, was taken back in 2013 by American surf photographer Zak Noyle. Noyle, a photographer for Surfer magazine based in Honolulu, Hawaii, had gone to shoot Dede Suryana – who was acclaimed as the best surfer in Indonesia.
“We travelled to a remote place in south Java, a 15-hour car drive from Jakarta, then a five-hour boat ride. It was such a remote, apparently pristine location, I never imagined I’d find this scene.”
But the rubbish didn’t stop Indo surf champ Dede Suryana taking on the debris – as these incredible photographs show.
Residents of large population centers are often the ones improperly disposing of their trash, which storms and currents carry to beaches and islands most locals have never even seen. “There is little cultural awareness when it comes to trash,” according to Time magazine.
But Anna Cummins, co-founder of 5 Gyres, a non-profit that sails the world researching plastic pollution, says that lack of awareness is not always to blame.
“We met many people who would like to do the right thing, but simply don’t have access to basic waste removal/disposal. The stench of burning plastic is ever present. The juxtaposition of incredible natural beauty with the blight of pollution was heartbreaking.”
Read more from WWF about Indonesia’s complex environmental issues here. Or check out The Indonesian Coral Reef Foundation.