Home Research Henderson Island is uninhabited, but still home to 38 million pieces of...

Henderson Island is uninhabited, but still home to 38 million pieces of garbage


Pollution known no bounds and this is evident from a new report that shows that Henderson Island is home to 38 million pieces of garbage despite being an uninhabited atoll in the South Pacific.

The island is believed to be one of those few places in the world where the ecology is still intact and humans haven’t managed to interfere with it. However, garbage being dumped into oceans and rivers around the world have managed to find their way to the island – a surprising find in the study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The trash on the island includes water bottles, pieces of netting, plastic helmets, garden containers and other debris so broken down that its original purpose is unrecognizable.

The island is inhospitable for humans and because of its remoteness it would be almost impossible for human-induced pollution to be present on or near the island. However, that’s not the case as researchers believe that the island gets about 3,500 pieces of trash from the ocean everyday. Researchers concluded that the situation on Henderson Island is both alarming and terrifying considering that despite human absence, the island now has the highest density of plastic waste in the world.

Henderson Island is uninhabited and its closest neighbor, Pitcairn Island, lies about 70 miles to the west and is home to only about 40 people. The nearest major population center is more than 3,000 miles away.

The study notes that Henderson Island is situated on the western edge of a circular system of ocean currents called the South Pacific Gyre and this is one of the primary reasons why the island naturally becomes a repository for floating debris from around the world – despite not being home to a single human.

For about three months, researchers stayed on Henderson Island in 2015 and analyzed about 55,000 pieces of the garbage. Based on identifiable markings on about 100 pieces, they determined that garbage had been carried there from China, Japan, South America, Europe, the United States and Russia.

Some of the other shocking findings were dead adult female green turtle ensnared in some fishing line; and crabs taking up residence in various plastic containers.