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Natural Habitat

In Bira, South Sulawesi, we take a dirt road that follows the coastline westward and find a couple of abandoned resorts. Lacking construction permits, they had to shut down a few years ago.

Like anywhere else along the coast of Sulawesi with its hundreds of undeveloped beaches – splendid, white, blessed with the cleanest turquoise waters – I am overwhelmed by the amount of plastic washed ashore. While I ponder over bottles, sandals, toys, the anthropocene, the inadequacy of the term driftwood and the meaning of habitat, I watch the hermit crabs going about their daily business between my feet. For them, industrious as ever, the plastic has long become part of their world like seaweed or coconut shells – a parcel of their natural habitat.

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This privacy policy has been updated on 30 December 2018.