Henderson Island in the South Pacific has highest plastic waste density

Henderson Island in the South Pacific has highest plastic waste density

Henderson Island in the South Pacific has the highest plastic waste density on the planet. The small, remote and uninhabited island in South Pacific was featured on ESA Web TV on April 20, 2018 to showcase the amount of plastic waste humans have been dumping in the oceans. Earlier published research paper claims that Henderson Island could be having nearly 37 million items of plastic waste. The small island currently has 671 items per square meter, the highest density of plastic waste on the planet.

Scientists have warned earlier about the impact of non-recycled plastic waste on our ecological system. Waste management is a major political issue in many countries in Western Europe and many cities have already done a lot to control the waste disposal methods. However, in the coastal regions, the waste management system is still lacking and lot of plastic waste ends up in the water bodies.

ESA Web TV showcased Sentinel-2 satellite image of Henderson Island. The island is located about halfway between Chile and New Zealand. A study published in June 2017 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has detailed the impact of plastic waste on many islands.

Annual production of plastic has increased from 1.7 million tonnes in 1954 to 311 million tonnes in 2014.

Conservation biologist Jennifer Lavers at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania led the study. A team of five researchers surveyed the island for six hours to estimate the amount of plastic waste.

Dr Lavers said the 17.6 tonnes of plastic debris estimated to be on Henderson Island accounted for just 1.98 seconds' worth of the current annual global production of plastic.

Recycling of plastic is important and adequate steps should be taken by municipalities and local authorities to deal with enormous amount of plastic waste generated in cities.