37 Million Pieces of Plastic Have Washed up on Uninhabited Pacific Island
One of the most remote islands in the Pacific Ocean has become a massive plastic dump with more than 37 million pieces of plastic washed up on the uninhabited atoll.
Henderson Island, part of the last British Overseas Territory in the Pacific – the Pitcairn Islands – has the highest density of plastic particles ever reported, according to new research.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), details a scientific expedition to the island in 2015 where researchers discovered the extent of the pollution problem.
The team observed that the 9,100 acre (37 sq km) coral atoll, located more than 5,000km (3,100 miles) from the nearest major landmass, is being polluted with more than 3,500 pieces of plastic debris on a daily basis.
"We estimated a minimum of 3,570 debris items were deposited on North Beach daily, five orders of magnitude greater than the accumulation rates reported elsewhere," the study said.
Researchers highlighted the negative impact the plastic pollution is having on marine biodiversity at Henderson Island pointing to its contribution to a drop in the number of sea turtle laying attempts and the increased risk of entanglement for coastal-nesting seabirds .