A tiny island in the South Pacific ocean has been found to have the highest density of anthropogenic (made by humans) debris anywhere in the world.
Yet Henderson Island, the largest of four islands in the Pitcairn Island group, has a human population of zero!
Almost 18 tonnes of plastic, broken up into 37.7 million separate pieces, made up 99.8% of the human rubbish fragments found on the island. Researchers from the University of Tasmania and from the UK's RSPB estimated that there were 17.6 tonnes of plastic on the island's shoreline, which represented 671 items per square metre.
Hundreds of crabs were found living in rubbish like cosmetics jars and plastic bottle caps. The plastic fragments started out their lives across the globe., with bottles found to have arrived on the island from Germany, a fishing crate from New Zealand and other items from Canada. A huge collection of hard hats in all kinds of colours was also discovered.
Henderson Island is near the centre of the South Pacific Gyre, a huge rotating current, which is why it has picked up so much rubbish. Millions of tonnes of plastic end up in the world's oceans each year. Plastic simply doesn't go away. It floats and it's very durable. It can become brittle and break into smaller pieces over time, but it doesn't go away. Clearly, our use of plastic is something we all really need to think carefully about. We all need to recycle, reduce and re-use whenever we can.
Photo by circle face