Uninhabited Pacific Island Covered in 38 Million Pieces of Trash

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Trash found on Henderson Island

Have you ever wondered where our waste ends up after it finds its way into the ocean?

Australian scientists recently found out when they discovered an uninhabited island in the Pacific Islands that was covered with an estimated 38 million pieces of rubbish!

Upon their arrival, the scientists found the tiny island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean had a higher density of trash than has been recorded anywhere else in the world, despite the island’s remoteness.

The majority of the rubbish on Henderson Island was plastic-based products, consisting of hundreds of hard hats, plastic bags, toy soldiers and toothbrushes.

The island is located between New Zealand and Chile and is a recognised UNESCO world heritage site.

The lead author of the report, Jennifer Lavers, said the island was at the edge of a vortex of ocean currents, known as the South Pacific Gyre, which tends to capture and hold floating trash.

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*The waste found on the island travelled to the island through a well-known ocean vortex. Since rubbish takes so long to decompose, the island has become yet another victim of increasing marine waste.

“The quantity of plastic there is truly alarming,” she said. “It’s both beautiful and terrifying.”

Ms Lavers stayed on the island with six other researchers for three months back in 2015, as they completed their study, which was published in May 2017 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

More than two-thirds of the trash they found was buried in shallow sediments on the beaches, with Monopoly board game pieces and babies’ dummies being among the rubbish.

They also came across dead and injured marine life, including a sea turtle that had been caught in an abandoned fishing net and a crab that had made its home in a disposed cosmetics container.

The Island, which is 10km long and 5km wide, is inundated with an estimated 13,000 pieces of rubbish per day.

“We need to drastically rethink our relationship with plastic,” she said. “It’s something that’s designed to last forever, but is often only used for a few fleeting moments and then tossed away.”

Henderson Island is the perfect example of what can happen when rubbish removal in Perth and across the globe isn’t handled properly. Not only should we be recycling as much ‘rubbish’ as we possibly can, we should also be adhering to safe and environmentally-friendly waste removal and green waste collection principals in Perth.

To hire a skip bin in Perth, or to learn more about our responsible waste disposal practices, contact Bulk Waste Collection today!


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