ocean life pollution

Shocking photos show sea creatures making homes out of litter (Credit: SWNS)

KILWINNING, Scotland — Sea creatures are literally turning our trash into their treasure. A man in Scotland is sharing shocking photos of ocean life making homes out of garbage, including a lobster living in a traffic cone and sea anemones growing on a can of soda.

Chemistry teacher Ross McLaren started documenting ocean pollution while diving around sea lochs in Scotland. The 31-year-old believes Scotland is one of the best places in the world for diving but adds that littering has skyrocketed since COVID-related lockdowns.

Ross began diving in September 2016 and was stunned by starfish, anemones, lobsters, and bog tail squid. However, on one occasion he spotted a magnificent jellyfish – only to realize it was a reusable shopping bag. The teacher says his hobby can sometimes be depressing due to the quantity of garbage. He often weighs the benefits of removing litter if it has a sea-creature living in it.

“Most of the rubbish in my car is from doing dives, every six months I empty it out,” McLaren say in an online video, according to SWNS. “Some of the stuff I’ve seen under the water is decades old – a Nintendo controller, and cans of Tennent’s’ with the pin-up girls on them.”

photos show sea creatures making homes out of litter
Shocking photos show sea creatures making homes out of litter (Credit: SWNS)

“I accidentally fell in love with diving, and it’s good to show people what is happening. Sea creatures are making their homes in litter. People won’t care if they can’t see it,” McLaren continues.

“One day in Greenock I saw what I thought was a huge jellyfish but it was actually a Bag For Life. You can understand why a whale or a porpoise thinks a plastic bag is a jellyfish. I was totally oblivious as well. It’s really quite disheartening. The Irn Bru can shocked a lot of people. There is a bottle which looks like Budweiser or Buckfast, and a wheel rim, and marine life have made homes there.”

Other discoveries included an old-fashioned kettle in the Highlands of Scotland. The teacher also found a bottle with a glove on it.

“I think it has got worse since lockdown. There’s a general increase in the amount of litter in water. People don’t realize what an impact it is having. I tend to do a lot of diving around the sea lochs, near Loch Lomond and Loch Fyne.”

Sea creatures make a home out of a discarded glove
Sea creatures make a home out of a discarded glove (Credit: SWNS)

One distressing image showed a lobster with plastic tied around its claws, suggesting it had been caught and thrown back into the water, taken in 2019. Another lobster was found hiding in a traffic cone as the 31-year-old was diving near Fairlie Quay, Largs, North Ayrshire.

“I was really quite surprised to see it – the visibility is sometimes not the best and it wasn’t the easiest shot to get. The marine life do use litter as habitat. On this occasion I thought it best to leave it as it looked like the lobster has set up its home in there,” Ross adds.

Lobster living inside a traffic cone in the tidal inlet of Sea Loch
Lobster living inside a traffic cone in the tidal inlet of Sea Loch (Credit: SWNS)

“In some of my dives, I have seen the likes of a can of Irn Bru and it has grown with bits and pieces and that is where it becomes an ethical issue. The incredible arrange of colors you can see is amazing – most people think that Scottish marine life is dull and grey on the surface but underneath it is full of color.”

“I’m not a marine biologist or an eco-warrior. It’s easy to stop litter,” the photographer concludes.

South West News Service writers Sarah Ward and Calum Corral contributed to this report.

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