It’s easy to think of pollution as a merely theoretical problem that doesn’t have an impact on life as we currently live it. Yet the hard truth is that the damage we’ve been doing to the environment already has had devastating effects on life throughout the planet, as it has for many years.

The following photos prove just how bad things have gotten. They may be hard to look at or think about, but hopefully, by understanding what the problem is, we can work towards solutions.

1. A discarded rubber band wrapped around this tortoise when he was a baby 19 years ago. Today, he looks like this.

1-pollution-photosImgur / grilledbutter

2. Trash litters the Great Wall of China.

2-pollution-photosImgur / OdetteLove

3. People have been dumping their trash in this river.

3-pollution-photosImgur / OdetteLove

4. This bird is trapped inside this plastic bag.

4-pollution-photosImgur / grilledbutter

5. This seal’s snout became stuck inside a discarded container and he couldn’t breathe or eat properly. Thankfully, he is now free!

5-pollution-photosImgur / grilledbutter

6. A terrible oil spill turns this once feathery bird into something that was almost unrecognizable.

6-pollution-photosImgur / grilledbutter

7. This beautiful countryside is ruined by trash and industrial waste.

7-pollution-photosImgur / OdetteLove

8. A turtle is ensnared by a plastic can holder.

8-pollution-photosImgur / grilledbutter

9. Men wade through a river of garbage in their boats.

9-pollution-photosImgur / OdetteLove

10. Despite the filthy street, a boy still desperately drinks water from it.

10-pollution-photosImgur / OdetteLove

11. A boy swimming through garbage.

11-pollution-photosImgur / imhereforattention

12. A wire wrapped around a sea lion’s neck cuts into its flesh.

12-pollution-photosImgur / grilledbutter

13. This boy has no choice but to step through trash-lined streets.

13-pollution-photosImgur / ImHereForAttention

14. A boy attempts to jump over a pond to a pile of trash on the other side.

14-pollution-photosImgur / ImHereForAttention

15. Most people would wear a hazmat suit here, but this boy doesn’t seem to know better.

15-pollution-photosImgur / OdetteLove

These photos prove that pollution needs to be addressed immediately. How much longer are we going to allow things like this to happen?

Share these important photos with your friends below!