Jarring photos posted by a photographer last week showed the Caribbean Sea inundated with man-made trash.  The series of images, posted by underwater photographer Caroline Power, showed garbage covering parts of the water as far as the eye can see.

Utensils and other plastic items blanketed the ocean in the pictures. Power called it a “sea of plastic and styrofoam.”

“THIS HAS TO STOP,” Power wrote alongside the photos. “How did you take your food to go last time you ate out? How was your last street food served? Chances are it was styrofoam and served with a plastic fork and then put in a plastic bag. Do you still use plastic garbage bags? Plastic soda bottles? Ziplock bags? Plastic wrap on your food? Do you buy toilet paper that comes wrapped in plastic instead of paper? Do you put your food and veggies in produce bags at the grocery?”

Many of the images were taken off the coast of Roatan Island in Honduras, Power said in the comments. Others were taken near the island of Cayos Cochinos, she told The Telegraph.

“To see something that I care so deeply for being killed, slowly choked to death by human waste was devastating,” she said.

The garbage she saw was spread for almost five miles.

“Everywhere we looked, plastic bags of all shapes and sizes: chip bags, ziplocks, grocery, trash, snack bags and other packaging,” she told The Telegraph. “Some were whole and the rest were just pieces. Sadly, many turtles, fish, whales and seabirds will mistake those bits of plastic for food. We then reached an area about two miles wide that had multiple trash lines that stretched from horizon to horizon. There was also a seemingly infinite number of plastic forks, spoons, drink bottles and plates. There were broken soccer balls, toothbrushes, a tv and so many shoes and flip-flops.”

More than eight million tons of plastic are dumped into the world’s waters each and every year, according to the nonprofit network Plastic Oceans. That trash causes the death of more than 100,000 marine animals and one million seabirds every year, the United Nations reported. Should this trend continue, plastic will outweigh fish in the ocean by the year 2050.

Power emphasized the importance of improving waste management and education about trash and recycling. Stopping trash before it gets into the ocean is most important, she said, because of the difficulty and expense of removing it from the water. 

“I challenge every person and every business to keep your trash for one week,” Power wrote on Facebook. “Separate your organic and recyclables and keep everything else for one week. You will be disgusted how many single use items you use.”