MOL

Male

It’s renowned for its luxury accommodation, turquoise waters and breath-taking beaches. However, these images show the darker side to the Maldives - with huge amounts of rubbish washed up on the island’s pristine sands. Award-winning filmmaker Alison Teal, 27, visited Thilafushi – or Trash Island - an artificial island created as a municipal landfill situated to the west of Malé.  She said she was shocked at the amount of plastic bottles she saw floating in the crystal-clear sea and strewn across the usually idyllic beaches.

Accompanied by Australian photographer Mark Tipple and his colleague Sarah Lee, the group took these shocking images and footage to document the luxury destination’s waste problem.

There are more than 400 tonnes of rubbish dumped on the Maldives’ island every day - a figure attributed largely to the tourist industry on which the chain of atolls relies. Each visitor generates 3.5kg of waste per day. Alison, from Hawaii, who supports organisations that recycle plastic into fashion, including bikinis and jackets, has made a documentary about her time in the Maldives. She said: ‘I was overwhelmingly shocked by the amount of plastic rubbish which covered the uninhabited, picturesque island we stayed on. ‘This was only one island - I couldn’t bear to imagine what the other 1,200 islands looked like, covered in rubbish. ‘To leave the island, we actually made a raft out of bottles. As we paddled to our rescue boat, I swore I would come back and do something about the plastic pollution.’ Compelled to help out after witnessing the waste problem first hand, Alison took part in a beach clean-up, with a team of volunteers and now helps companies which make rubbish into clothes.