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Polar Bears On Remote Island Spotted Playing With The Saddest Thing

This needs to be our wakeup call 💔

Svalbard is a Norwegian island chain located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean, hundreds of miles from the nearest mainland. But despite its remote location and small human population of about 2,600 residents, Svalbard is far from untouched by the outside world.

And the creatures living there, who might never have seen a human, are sadly all too well-acquainted with our stuff.

Wikipedia

British photographer Kevin Morgans recently paid a visit to Svalbard, capturing its beauty and splendor — but also something heartbreaking.

At one point, Morgans noticed a mother polar bear and her two cubs atop an icy crag. Then he noticed the plastic.

"It was a bittersweet moment to watch," Morgans wrote on Facebook. "On one hand, you have a beautiful mother and two cubs and on the other, the curious young cubs are playing/eating plastic pollution which had been washed ashore."

The photos are alarming, to say the least. He hopes the world takes notice.

"This was a really sad situation to see and further highlights how our plastic pollution is affecting wildlife in the Arctic regions," Morgans wrote. "So please people let's do our bit to help reduce plastic and keep our oceans plastic free."

Sadly, there is no shortage of scenes like this one, showing wild animals forced to live among our waste — and that's because there's plenty of waste going around. Every year, roughly 14 billion tons of plastic enter Earth's oceans, putting countless animals' lives in peril. But hope is not lost.

"We need smart policies that encourage manufacturers to move away from throwaway plastic," Elizabeth Murdock, director of the Pacific Ocean initiative for the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), told The Dodo earlier this year. "[We need] individuals who understand the impacts our trash has on vulnerable marine life and make personal choices that help reduce the trash in our oceans.”

To learn more about issues facing these animals, and to find out how you can help, visit Polar Bears International.