The beaches of one of the world’s most remote islands have been found to be polluted with the highest density of plastic debris reported anywhere on the planet.
Photo:Henderson Island by Tara Proud
Despite being uninhabited and located more than 5000 kilometres from the nearest major population centre, Henderson Island is littered with an estimated 37.7 million pieces of plastic.
image credit: IMAS
During the most recent scientific expedition to the island led by the British nature conservation charity RSPB, IMAS researcher Dr Jennifer Lavers found the beaches littered by up to 671 items per square metre, the highest density ever recorded.
The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic, “grotesque” extent of marine plastic pollution.
The findings make it a bit easier to understand the impact our plastic pollution has on the environment — especially on remote islands like the one described in the study, which “have become reservoirs for the world’s waste.”