A curious harbor seal checks out diver Mike Weber as he and his team pick up golf balls in the waters off the coast of Northern California.
A diver in California has stumbled on an unexpected source of plastic waste in the ocean: golf balls.
As the balls degrade, they can emit toxic chemicals. And there appear to be lots of them in certain places underwater — right next to coastal golf courses.
Two years ago, a 16-year old diver named Alex Weber was swimming off Pebble Beach along the Pacific near Carmel, Calif. “My dad raised me underwater,” says Weber, and she means it. She’s a free diver: no scuba tanks; she just holds her breath. She was diving in a small cove and looked down and saw something weird. “You couldn’t see the sand,” she recalls, still sounding incredulous. “It was completely white.”
White with golf balls. “You looked down and you’re like, ‘What are you doing here?’”
There were thousands of them. “It felt like a shot to the heart,” she says.
Photo courtesy of Alex Weber