A remote South Pacific island has the highest density of plastic debris reported anywhere on the planet, our new study has found.
Our study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, estimated that more than 17 tonnes of plastic debris has washed up on Henderson Island, with more than 3,570 new pieces of litter arriving every day on one beach alone.
The eruption of the underwater Hunga Tonga volcano in December has created a new island in the South Pacific.
The island is 1,640 feet long and made up of rock sediment from magma, the BBC reports. It’s likely to be dangerous for visitors, and remains highly unstable. One visitor noted that the surface was still hot to the touch, and another said we can’t be sure if the volcano is done erupting.
The new island is only 28 miles away from Tonga’s capital, Nuku’alofa.
The Micronesian country of Palau, which encompasses 250 islands in an area the size of France, just became a marine sanctuary.
At a recent U.N. oceans conference, President Tommy Remengesau, Jr. declared commercial fishing illegal in an attempt to protect the vibrant sea life that makes Palau a magnet for Asian vacationers. “I always say the economy is our environment and the environment is our economy,” he said. (Wise dude.)
To make up for the lost revenue, Palau will tout its appeal for ecotourism, snorkelers, and scuba divers.
For more than a century, ever since humans introduced them to the Galapagos, rats have ruled Pinzón Island. Just one year ago, 180 million rats lived on this island, hardly seven square miles of land. And because the rats were so hungry for turtle eggs and turtle hatchlings, for years the native giant tortoises — a subspecies called Chelonoidis nigra duncanensis — had to breed in captivity and were considered extinct in the wild.
But now, John R. Platt reports at Scientific American, 118 juvenile tortoises have been let free on the island. And they may just survive — because the rats are gone.