Troops in the Dominican Republic have been drafted in to help tackle a tide of plastic waste blighting the Caribbean shores of the holiday hotspot.
The nation’s authorities are seeking to stem the sea of pollution washing up daily with a concerted clean-up drive.
Soldiers have joined with conservationists, local government agencies and residents to try and stem the pile-ups blighting some of its golden beaches.
An estimated 54 tons of plastic has already been scooped up by the squad of more than 500 helpers, but the waves of rubbish keep arriving.
The Dominican Republic is a popular tourism destination, but the rising tide of waste is threatening its reputation as an unspoiled natural paradise – and poses a deadly hazard to marine and bird life which becomes entangled in the toxic soup.
Much of the problem is home-grown, according to David Collado of the Santo Domingo local authority.
“All the rubbish that we have here comes from metropolitan Santo Domingo, including Monte Plata (a nearby province),” he said.
Environmentalist Luis Carvajal said: “The great quantity of toxic components, of plastic and metal components are making species sick… threatening the biodiversity with the introduction of these harmful components, (threatening) the health of all species, including humans.”
The environmental eyesore underlines the global threat posed by plastic to the world’s waters, highlighted by Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign.
Oceans campaigner Lewis Pugh is currently undertaking a formidable challenge to swim the 350 miles (563km) from Land’s End to Dover to raise awareness about marine pollution and the need for conservation.
He has also been writing a blog where you can follow his progress.
Environmental campaigners estimate at least five trillion pieces of plastic weighing more than 223,000 tons are circulating in the world’s oceans.
:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can read our coverage here, or find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com