Nowhere is safe from plastic. A tiny South Pacific island 5000 kilometres from the nearest human occupation has the highest density of washed-up plastic rubbish known anywhere in the world.
Henderson Island is an uninhabited, 5-kilometre-wide speck of land halfway between Australia and South America. A recent expedition led by Jennifer Lavers at the University of Tasmania in Australia found 38 million items of rubbish weighing a total of 18 tonnes spread across its beaches.
Until recently, a major build-up of marine plastic was thought to mainly affect the North Pacific Ocean, where a swirling current called the North Pacific Gyre traps floating debris to form the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
But in 2013, a similar garbage patch was reported in the South Pacific. This patch is also delineated by a circular current, called the South Pacific Gyre.
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