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Millions of Plastic Pieces Find Their Way to a Pristine Pacific Island

Source: NPR/Camila Domonoske - May 17, 2017 in Environment

Millions of Plastic Pieces Find Their Way to a Pristine Pacific Island
Photo: Susan White USFWS/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

More than 37 million pieces of plastic debris have accumulated on a remote island in the South Pacific, thousands of miles from the nearest city, according to estimates from researchers who documented the accumulating trash.

Turtles get tangled in fishing line, and hermit crabs make their homes in plastic containers. The high-tide line is demarcated by litter. Small scraps of plastic are buried inches deep into the sandy beaches.

It’s the highest density of debris reported anywhere in the world, scientists say. Their research on trash accumulated at Henderson Island, largest of the the Pitcairn Islands, was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

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