Remote South Pacific island has highest levels of plastic rubbish in the world

http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-05-16/plastic-pollution-on-henderson-island-in-south-pacific/8527370

The beaches of World Heritage-listed Henderson Island, in the Pitcairn Group off South America, contain an estimated 37.7 million items of debris together weighing 17.6 tonnes, a new study has revealed.

Australian researcher Dr Jennifer Lavers said it meant the island had the highest density of plastic rubbish anywhere in the world.

She said the finding, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was a wake-up call to the world that plastic pollution was as grave a threat to humanity as climate change.

Annual production of plastic has increased from 1.7 million tonnes in 1954 to 311 million tonnes in 2014.

This has resulted in an estimated five trillion plastic items — mostly less than five millimetres in size — circulating in the surface layer of the world’s oceans.

To understand how much debris was accumulating on the remote island, Dr Lavers, a conservation biologist at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, and Dr Alexander Bond at the Centre for Conservation Science in the UK surveyed the island’s North and East Beach for three months in 2015.

Dr Lavers said the 17.6 tonnes of plastic debris estimated to be on Henderson Island accounted for just 1.98 seconds’ worth of the current annual global production of plastic.

She said the amount of rubbish was such that it took a five-person team six hours to survey a 10-metre section of the beach.

The team calculated there were 671.6 items per square metre on the surface of the beaches, with approximately 68 per cent of debris buried less than 10 centimetres in the sand.

Each day, 17 to 268 new items washed up on a 10-metre section of North Beach, representing a daily accumulation rate of 1.7 to 26.8 items per metre.

The scale of the pollution at Henderson Island shocked Dr Lavers, despite a career visiting many ocean “garbage patches” and tracking plastic pollution in marine environments.

Henderson Island is in an area of the ocean that is rarely traversed and is not near any shipping lanes or fisheries, with no major land-based industrial facilities or cities within 5,000 kilometres.

The nearest settlement is Pitcairn Island with a population of 40 people.

———-

“Annual production of plastic has increased from 1.7 million tonnes in 1954 to 311 million tonnes in 2014. This has resulted in an estimated five trillion plastic items — mostly less than five millimetres in size — circulating in the surface layer of the world’s oceans.”

just nasty..really nasty..why do people litter?

401

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~ by seeker401 on May 24, 2017.

4 Responses to “Remote South Pacific island has highest levels of plastic rubbish in the world”

  1. Rev. 21: 1 …and there was no more sea;

  2. Reblogged this on UZA – a people's courts court of conscience.

  3. Plastic was a short term saving which will cost us all eventually.
    Toxic and gender bending as well . Sea salt is full of plastic micro beads as are fish .
    Glass and cardboard was the way to go .

  4. Reblogged this on World4Justice : NOW! Lobby Forum..

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