Bringing the Ocean to Society
17 May 2017
38 million pieces of plastic waste found on uninhabited South Pacific island
Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn group, is covered by 18 tonnes of plastic – the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world

One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted. Henderson Island, a tiny landmass in the eastern South Pacific, has been found by marine scientists to have the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution plastic.

The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic, “grotesque” extent of marine plastic pollution. Nearly 38 M pieces of plastic were estimated to be on Henderson by researchers from the University of Tasmania and the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, weighing a combined 17.6 tonnes.

Top photo shows one of many hundreds of crabs that now make their homes out of plastic debris washed up on Henderson Island. This particular item is an Avon cosmetics jar. Photograph: Jennifer Lavers

To access the original article and watch a video on this marine litter issue please click here.

Marine litter and plastic pollution was one of the topics addressed by the MARINA project, in which EurOcean is a partner, in a workshop held recently in Brussels. EurOcean Executive-Director, Ned Dwyer will be presenting the main outcomes of this event during a workshop on May 18th at the European Maritime Day conference in Poole, UK.