Plastic Waste by the Tonne Contaminating Tropical Island Paradise
Henderson Island is part of the Pitcairn group, it is covered by a staggering 18 tonnes of plastic – the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world.
One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted.
Henderson Island, a tiny place in the eastern South Pacific, has been found by marine scientists to have the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution consisting of this synthetic material.
There is nearly 18 tonnes of it piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic extent of marine plastic pollution.
Almost 38 million pieces of plastic were estimated to be on the island by researchers from the University of Tasmania and the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, totalling 17.6 tonnes.
The majority of the debris – about 68% – was not even visible, with up to 4,500 items per square metre buried to a depth of about 10cm. About 13,000 new items are washed up daily.
This plastic is old, brittle, sharp, and toxic. It is a bad site seeing the crabs scuttling about, living in our waste.
Across the board, no country is innocent on this – with bottles from Germany, containers from Canada, a fishing crate from New Zealand. What that says is we all have a responsibility in this, and we have to sit up and pay attention to that.
At the world oceans summit in early March, Indonesia agreed to put up to $1 billion a year towards reducing plastic and other waste products polluting its seas, setting a goal of a 70% reduction in marine waste within eight years.