Debris blankets the north side of one of the Cocos Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean. Researchers found a huge amount of plastic both onshore and buried in the sand.
Courtesy of Silke Stuckenbrock
Around the globe, people are searching for ways to reduce plastic waste. Above: Dampalit, a fishing community in Manila Bay, can't keep up with a constant influx of trash.
Jes Aznar for NPR
Teenage sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen of Bali have received many honors for their efforts to ban plastic bags. Above: They accept the 2017 "Award for Our Earth" from Germany's Bambi Awards.
Alexander Koerner/Getty Images
A curious harbor seal checks out diver Mike Weber as he and other divers pick up golf balls in the waters off the coast of Northern California. His daughter wrote a paper about all the golf balls found in the ocean from nearby golf courses.
Courtesy of Alex Weber
Waste engineer Jenna Jambeck of the University of Georgia surveys plastic waste in a southeast Asian village, where it will be recycled to make raw material for more plastic products. Jambeck advises Asian governments on how to keep plastic trash out of waterways.
Courtesy of Amy Brooks