Henderson Island, a part of the Pitcairn archipelago, is covered with almost 18 tons of plastic waste, which is the most densely deposited silt from waste made by man as is recorded in the world.
This uninhabited coral island is also one of the most isolated and the most polluted.
This island is located in the South Pacific, and 99.8 percent of the waste is made up of plastic.
According to estimates of researchers from the University of Tasmania and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds from Great Britain, Henderson has 38 million pieces of plastic waste weighing about 17.6 tons.
Most of the waste, approximately 68 percent, can not even be seen as about 4,500 pieces of waste per square meter are buried to a depth of 10 centimeters. Daily from the water ashore are discharged about 13,000 pieces of waste.
Jennifer Levers from the University of Tasmania says the extent of pollution on the island exceeds all expectations.
“I’ve traveled to some of the most remote islands in the world and the situation is almost the same everywhere. The beaches are crowded with traces of human activity, although people never set foot there. However, it is hoped that isolation of Henderson will give some certainty. I was totally wrong. The amount of waste left me speechless, so in detail we documented what we found ourselves” – she said.
Researchers have found hundreds of shrimps living in the waste. And as their home they use bottle caps, containers of cosmetics and so on.
What is the funniest thing is that this island is placed in the World Heritage List under the protection of UNESCO and is virtually untouched.
Given that there are only 3,700 hectares, the island shows remarkable biodiversity. Some 10 endemic species of plants and four terrestrial species live on this island.
Levers states that this island is proof that there is no place in the world that is spared of the plastic waste pollution. According to her, the only way to solve this problem and protect the coastline and wildlife from further pollution is to reduce the production of plastics.
Unfortunately, the global production of plastics now stands at around 300 million tons. Or that is six times more than in the 1970 s. So it seems that this will not happen soon.