(Crab on Henderson Island using a bottle cap as a shell - Source: Jennifer Lavers)
Is Henderson Island made entirely out of plastic? No, but you might think that walking along the shores of this tiny, remote South Pacific island.
Henderson Island is completely unpopulated and is near impossible to get to. With no tourist activity, the island should be a pristine environment, but researchers have found that this tropical paradise is now a plastic junkyard.
Jennifer Lavers, a research scientist at Australia's University of Tasmania, is the lead author of a report on the condition of the island published in Proceedings of the National Academy.
The team found that in every square meter of beach on Henderson, between 20 and 670 pieces of plastic can be found on the surface and between 50 and 4,500 pieces can be found in the topmost 10 centimetres of sand.
(Henderson Island pollution - source: Jennifer Lavers)
The source of the pollution comes from virtually everywhere. Trash that is discarded on your local beach can easily end up in places like Henderson Island. Ocean currents carry trash to even the most remote area's of our planet and has a devastating impact on both land and marine life.
-"Clean ups are not an option"-
With more and more trash washing up every day, it is impossible to keep Henderson Island, and other islands like it, free from marine debris. Beach clean ups are not a long term solution to the plastic problem. We need to rethink our relationship with plastic entirely if we are to protect our marine environments.