Let’s not wait for more science - we need to do something now, Henderson Island plastics problem
One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted, simply due to the transboundary movement of plastics pollution through ocean currents.
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.
The majority of the debris – approximately 68% – was not even visible, with as many as 4,500 items per square metre buried to a depth of 10cm. About 13,000 new items were washing up daily. The island exhibits remarkable biological diversity given it covers only 3,700 hectares, with 10 endemic species of plant and four land bird species. Its isolation had, until recently, afforded it protection from most human activities.
At the world oceans summit in early March, Indonesia pledged to put up to $1bn a year towards reducing plastic and other waste products polluting its waters, setting a goal of a 70% reduction in marine waste within eight years.
Individuals and governments have a part to play in reducing the amount of plastic polluting the world’s oceans, but the key is urgency.
For me, marine plastic pollution is the new climate change, but I would like for us to not make the same mistakes. We’ve been arguing about climate change, and whether it exists and what is changing, for the better part of 40 years ...
Let’s not wait for more science. Let’s not debate it. The rate of plastic in our oceans is absolutely phenomenal, and we need to do something now.
full story: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/15/38-million-pieces-of-plastic-waste-found-on-uninhabited-south-pacific-island
Photo or video credit: Iain McGregor/The Guardian
Text Credit: Jennifer Lavers
Date : 8 August 2023