By Josh Saunders
A stunning free-diver has described the ‘real life nightmare’ of swimming into approximately THREE TONNES OF MAN-MADE RUBBISH floating in the ocean.
Julia Wheeler, 31, was horrified upon encountering the mass of human waste products including plastic bags, bottles, wrappers and containers that were trapping and suffocating marine life.
The competitive freediver who can reach 50m depths in one breath, was training off the coast of Bali, Indonesia when a fellow diver, Trista Fontana, spotted the litter travelling towards them.
After diving down to investigate, Julia surfaced with a plastic bag covering her head and later recognised the areas was swamped with up to three tonnes of rubbish.
Determined to raise awareness of the shocking scenes, Julia filmed the evidence of plastic pollution and now wants the world to recognise their responsibilities ‘before it’s too late’.
Julia, from Perth, Western Australia, compared her experience to a ‘nightmare’ and believes we should all reduce our plastic intake drastically.
She said: ‘Say goodbye to pristine beaches and look forward to a plastic paradise because here’s the proof – that’s where we are headed unless we all make a small change.
“I was training on the freediving line and all of a sudden, we were hit by two to three tonnes of rubbish in the ocean – I was so lucky that I had my GoPro to film it.
“I was swimming through all of this human waste, my body was covered in rubbish, I had a plastic bag over my head and I just felt really dirty.
“Everyone is going to get a rude wakeup call when they know what it’s like to swim in their own waste.
“I wanted to get out, I felt very claustrophobic and it was scary.
“Going through rubbish was disgusting, I even saw fish trying to eat bags and turtles trying to swim through it all
“It was a real life nightmarish horror movie happening before my eyes.
“We are reaching a stage of irreparable damage to the environment because of single use plastic.
“The time to make a change is today and everyone can play a part with very little effort.”
It’s believed there are over 5.2 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the ocean and over eight million tonnes a year is dumped into the waters.
One in three marine mammals have been found entangled in marine litter and over 90% of all seabirds have plastic pieces in their stomachs.
Julia maintains that it’s ‘easy’ to reduce our impact on the environment and that simple changes to our daily lifestyles can make a great difference.
She said: “Each one of us can make a huge impact by even simplest things like use reusable bottles, taking your own coffee cups and saying now to plastics straws
“It’s really not hard to do and comes down to plain laziness.
“It’s not that hard to take a reusable water bottle with you or recycle your shopping bags. I do it every single day.
“It would be great if people would take the initiative, stop being so lazy and wear a bit of the guilt behind destroying the oceans
‘I’m an ambassador for ‘Take 3 For The Sea’, an Australian organisation with a simple message; take three pieces of garbage with you wherever you are.
“Of 159 samples of tap water, including bottled water, from across the globe that were analysed recently it showed that 80% contained plastic microfibres – we are drinking plastic.
“We need to fight against the expansion of the coal and gas industries – sign petitions.
“Climate change is upon us, stop using plastic bags and bottles or even reduce the use and invest into renewable energy like solar panels – everyone can do this.”
You can follow her here.