Pitcairn Islands: Pristine Paradise to Rubbish Dump - Henderson Island 23 Years Apart

East Beach on Henderson Island- a World Heritage Site; Copyright: Jennifer Lavers

Following on from the article that we published in the June 2017 SOWG newsletter about the study of plastic debris that was found to have accumulated on the uninhabited Henderson Island, the University of Tasmania team has just released a new photo that was sent to them following their publication. In contrast, an image from Professor Marshall Weisler, taken in 1992 when he visited the island on an archaeological survey expedition provides an insight in to what Henderson looked like before.

The image of the pristine coastline is a stark contrast to that taken in the same location by the research team just 23 years later that displays some of the millions of pieces of plastic debris that have washed up there on ocean currents. The authors also note that following their publication they received multiple enquiries about how people can help to clean up Henderson Island— the answer being that with thousands of new plastic items washing up every day, the efforts would be futile. Instead, they note that rather than travel to a remote island to make a difference, people can simply make some changes at home to help, including reducing waste and improving how it is disposed of, and switching to products that are more environmentally friendly. The full article  gives more details.

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