The Maldive Islands are a vision of sun-soaked beaches and gorgeous tropical resorts. But if you look beyond the hotels and private villas, you'll find a very peculiar kind of island.
Thilafushi, or “Trash Island,” is an artificial island created as a municipal landfill in the Vaadhoo channel.
It was originally a lagoon but, in the 1990s, was claimed solely for dumping the islands' garbage.
Today, Thilafushi's growing landmass, once in governmental jurisdiction, has been sold to entrepreneurs to oversee the process.
Surfer and filmmaker Alison Teal visited the Maldives during the taping of a Discovery Channel TV show, "Naked and Afraid".
This is just one of the 1,200 islands of the landfill.
“To leave the island we actually made a raft out of bottles,” she remembers.
After the show ended, Alison continued to work on reducing the trash of the island.
"As we paddled to our rescue boat, I swore I would come back and do something about the plastic pollution."
She brought photographers Sarah Lee and Mark Tipple with her when she returned to the island a year later.
She organized a team of volunteers to collect plastic trash from the islands surrounding Thilafushi.
The beach cleanups raise awareness about new, reusable, material technologies used by some of the world's most renowned brands.
Alison has made it her mission to try to eliminate single-use plastic altogether.
Until plastic use is entirely gone, Alison advocates for its reuse as bikinis, jackets eyewear and clothing. Anywhere but strewn around the beaches.
This island serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of recycling and waste reduction.
Credit: Alison’s Adventures