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Beijing-based graphic designer Christian Waters was on a snorkeling trip in Mabul Island in Malaysia with his girlfriend when they saw something that ruined this otherwise idyllic vacation.

“The island is full of plastic garbage and trash,” Waters, 23, told EcoWatch. “So it’s like seeing this beautiful, beautiful landscape with oceans, blue sky, green foothills, but when we got closer to the island you see floating trash and debris around. It really just took you out of the moment.”

Designer Christian Waters is bringing attention to ocean litter with his portfolio project called the “Price of Convenience.” Photo credit: Christian Waters
Graphic designer Christian Waters is bringing attention to ocean litter with his portfolio project called the “Price of Convenience.” (All the images were created on Photoshop and are not real photos). Photo credit: Christian Waters

Indeed, plastic is everywhere, and it’s clogging our oceans. About 8 million metric tons of plastic waste is dumped into the world’s oceans every year, and all marine life—from tiny plankton to giant whales—have to live in it.

Waters’ Malaysia trip last year became the inspiration for his “Price of Convenience Ad Campaign,” a striking portfolio project that highlights the devastation of plastic trash and other litter on sea life.

Another source of inspiration? That horrific viral video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its nose.

“It really hit hard,” the Pennsylvania-native said about the graphic footage.

Microbeads, which are found in many beauty products, have been choking fish and other creatures in our waterways. Photo credit: Christian Waters
Microbeads, which are found in many beauty products, have been choking fish and other creatures in our waterways. Photo credit: Christian Waters

He said that his images, which were assembled using Photoshop, follow the simple-yet-impactful designs and advertisements from organizations like the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). (These images, however, are not part of an advertising campaign for the WWF, but for Waters’ own design portfolio.)

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