Although the majority of disposable plastic products are used on land, more often than not, they end up in the oceans. At current estimates, there is a total of 270,000 tons of plastic waste floating on the surface of the world’s oceans. Everything from plastic bags, toothbrushes, bottles, packaging and disposable utensils can be found in our oceans, and sadly, this enormous amount of trash grows every day.

With over 700 marine species threatened with imminent extinction as a result of all this plastic trash, it is more than clear that the time to ditch the disposable plastic is now. Yet, because we rarely get to see just how much plastic waste we collectively create, the gravity of this issue doesn’t sink in with most people. Artist Alejandro Duran hopes to change this.

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In his unique installation series, called “Washed Up,” Duran brings us face to face with plastic pollution.

The entire series is photographed off the coast of Sian Ka’an, Mexico. Duran identified plastics that originated from 50 different nations across six continents on the shore.

Duran explains in his artist statement, “More than creating a surreal or fantastical landscape, these installations mirror the reality of our current environmental predicament”

These plastics seem to have become part of their surrounding landscape, illustrating how much a part they have become of our manufactured world.

Duran refers to this phenomenon as the “colonization by consumerism.”

Though the images are stunning, they are equally haunting.

It takes plastic bottles hundreds of years to break down, begging the question, will our plastic pollution out live us?

“Conflating the hand of man and nature, at times I distribute the objects the way the waves would; at other times, the plastic takes on the shape of algae, roots, rivers, or fruit, reflecting the infiltration of plastics into the natural environment,” explains Duran.

Although plastic is convenient, we have to remember the serious cost at which that this convenience comes to the planet. 

Let’s #CrushPlastic! Click the graphic below for more information.

All image source: Alejandro Duran