Plastic now litters one of worlds most remote islands

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RCO

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( doesn't sound like they found any bottles , but a weird story from the south pacific . it doesn't really surprise me though , there does seem to be a lot of plastic out there . I see old water bottles and lighters all the time , and try and recycle some of it when possible but is just too much of it to ever clean up )




Public Release: 15-May-2017
[h=1]No escaping ocean plastic: 37 million bits of litter on one of world's remotest islands[/h]University of Tasmania - Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies
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The beaches of one of the world's most remote islands have been found to be polluted with the highest density of plastic debris reported anywhere on the planet, in a study published in the prestigious US scientific journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Despite being uninhabited and located more than 5000 kilometres from the nearest major population centre, Henderson Island is littered with an estimated 37.7 million pieces of plastic.

Part of the UK's Pitcairn Islands territory, the island is so remote that it's only visited every five to ten years for research purposes, but its location near the centre of the South Pacific Gyre ocean current makes it a focal point for debris carried from South America or deposited by fishing boats.

During the most recent scientific expedition to the island led by the British nature conservation charity RSPB, the study's lead author, IMAS researcher Dr Jennifer Lavers, found the beaches littered by up to 671 items per square metre, the highest density ever recorded.

"What's happened on Henderson Island shows there's no escaping plastic pollution even in the most distant parts of our oceans," Dr Lavers said.
"Far from being the pristine 'deserted island' that people might imagine of such a remote place, Henderson Island is a shocking but typical example of how plastic debris is affecting the environment on a global scale.

"Based on our sampling at five sites we estimated that more than 17 tonnes of plastic debris has been deposited on the island, with more than 3570 new pieces of litter washing up each day on one beach alone.

"It's likely that our data actually underestimates the true amount of debris on Henderson Island as we were only able to sample pieces bigger than two millimetres down to a depth of 10 centimetres, and we were unable to sample along cliffs and rocky coastline."

Dr Lavers said most of the more than 300 million tonnes of plastic produced worldwide each year is not recycled, and as it's buoyant and durable it has a long-term impact on the ocean.

"Plastic debris is an entanglement and ingestion hazard for many species, creates a physical barrier on beaches to animals such as sea turtles, and lowers the diversity of shoreline invertebrates.
"Research has shown that more than 200 species are known to be at risk from eating plastic, and 55 per cent of the world's seabirds, including two species found on Henderson Island, are at risk from marine debris," Dr Lavers said.

https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-05/uot--neo051417.php
 

CanadianBottles

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Yeah, it's terrible just how much trash is out there. When I lived on the West Coast, even though I was on the side of the island that wasn't exposed to the majority of the trash washing ashore there were always little pieces of Styrofoam and plastic flakes mixed into the flotsam no matter where you went, and on less maintained beaches huge chunks of Styrofoam plus plastic bottles and things. If you go out to Tofino or that area there's just so much trash that washes up every storm. As a kid I was fascinated by the bottles with Asian writing that had floated there from the other side of the world but now it's awful thinking of just how much of that stuff is out there, and us humans just keep on adding to it.
 

whittled

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A documentary "Plastic Paradise" disturbed the heck out of me when I saw it on TV a few years back.
 

RCO

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I happen to live near one of Michigan's cleanest beaches, yet there's always plenty of garbage.


our lakes here are fairly clean but I've seen areas near the shore where there is garbage , things like pop cans and plastic water bottles in the water .

there is also a lot of fishing lures and fishing line in our lakes as fishing popular
 

RCO

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Yeah, it's terrible just how much trash is out there. When I lived on the West Coast, even though I was on the side of the island that wasn't exposed to the majority of the trash washing ashore there were always little pieces of Styrofoam and plastic flakes mixed into the flotsam no matter where you went, and on less maintained beaches huge chunks of Styrofoam plus plastic bottles and things. If you go out to Tofino or that area there's just so much trash that washes up every storm. As a kid I was fascinated by the bottles with Asian writing that had floated there from the other side of the world but now it's awful thinking of just how much of that stuff is out there, and us humans just keep on adding to it.


its crazy to think there is that much plastic floating in the ocean currents , that is just one little island , its likely only a small amount of the plastic in the pacific actually landed there and yet its had millions of pieces land on its beaches

and it also sounds like even if they cleaned it up , more would continue to wash ashore and it never really been clean again
 

CanadianBottles

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Have you ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch It's a monumental problem, and although the Pacific one is most famous they exist in every ocean. Most of the trash doesn't end up on beaches, it's swept out into the middle of the ocean where it sits there churning around and breaking down into little bits of plastic which then make their way into the food chain and end up contaminating all the animals (and people who eat them) with plastic particles. In the last couple years there have been people who have started devising plans to clean up the garbage patch but it's such a massive area that I'm skeptical of how much improvement can necessarily be made.
 

RCO

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Have you ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pacific_garbage_patch It's a monumental problem, and although the Pacific one is most famous they exist in every ocean. Most of the trash doesn't end up on beaches, it's swept out into the middle of the ocean where it sits there churning around and breaking down into little bits of plastic which then make their way into the food chain and end up contaminating all the animals (and people who eat them) with plastic particles. In the last couple years there have been people who have started devising plans to clean up the garbage patch but it's such a massive area that I'm skeptical of how much improvement can necessarily be made.

it does make you wonder if this island is on the edge of the garbage patch or near some concentration of plastic that is in the water

think to , people have to look at ways to reduce the amount of plastic going into the ocean , starting with cities on the coastlines . they need to look at better ways to manage there waste and more aggressive cleanups of plastic along beaches and waterfront areas so it doesn't go into oceans .

but so much plastic is being used by people on a regular basis its tough to say how much can be done . know around here the amount of Gatorade and plastic water bottles I come across on a regular basis is rather high and they seem to be everywhere . in parks , along roads , boat launches , just about anywhere really
 

CanadianBottles

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Yeah I really don't know what to do about reducing the amount of trash going into the ocean. China seems to be getting more interested in being environmentally friendly so hopefully that'll help, but I'm not sure what percentage of the trash comes from China anyway. A lot of it seems to have to do with boats as well, things like plastic pellets used in manufacturing that get lost in large quantities during storms, or fishing nets that get abandoned, and whatever those styrofoam chunks are used for.
 

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