Plastic pollution covers the Indian Ocean – More than ​200 tonnes of plastic discovered on remote islands’ beaches

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A team of researchers from the University of Western Australia (UWA) has conducted an investigation to measure and record plastic debris in the Indian Ocean. About 414 million scraps of plastic, which included about one million shoes and 370,000 toothbrushes, have been discovered brought by the waves on the beaches of isolated Cocos, or Keeling Islands in the Indian Ocean, the report says.

The research on plastic pollution has been issued in the journal Scientific Reports, and it arrived at the conclusion that the littorals on the islands are cluttered with no less than 238 tones of plastic waste.

Jennifer Lavers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania in Australia explained that because the isolated islands don’t have vast human populations discharging waste close by, this shows the quantity of plastic waste that currently exists in the oceans. She added that these islands are acting as a warning, urging us to do something about the enormous amounts of plastic intoxicating our oceans.

Plastic pollution is now omnipresent in the world’s oceans, and isolated islands like these assessed are the place where one can get an objective idea of the amount of plastic waste now surrounding the planet, researchers said.

Lavers explained that the approximated number of 414 million scrapes weighting 238 tonnes on Cocos Island is it a moderate estimation, as the research team only took samples from 10 centimeters below the ground and couldn’t enter some shores widely known as ‘debris hotspots’.

Her study completed in 2017 shown that beached on isolated Henderson Island in the South Pacific had the topmost density of plastic waste disclosed anywhere on our planet.

Even though the density of plastic waste on Cocos Islands is inferior to that on Henderson Island, the final amount dominates the 38 million scraps packing a whole 17 tonnes discovered on the island in the Pacific.

Lavers explained that in contrast to the Pacific island, where the majority of traceable waste was related to fishing, the plastic debris on Cocos Island was predominantly non-reusable consumer products such as straws and bottle caps, as well as a huge quantity of thongs and other kinds of shoes.

Annett Finger, study co-author from Victoria University said that the worldwide manufacture of plastic keeps on rising, with approximately half of the plastic made across the last 60-years produced in the most recent 13 years.

Annett Finger said that an approximated 12.7 million tonnes of plastic was discharged in to our oceans in 2010 alone, and about 40% of plastics join the debris stream in the same year they are manufactured. As a consequence of the increase in non-reusable consumer plastics, it is approximated that there are at the moment 5.25 trillion scraps of ocean plastic waste.

Plastic pollution is a proved threat to wildlife and its hidden effect on humans is an increasing field of medical analysis.

The enormous proportion of the issue means that cleaning up the oceans is not quite possible at the moment, already being too late. Also, cleaning the beaches after the plastic waste arrived is costly, time-consuming, and it has to religiously be redone as thousands of new plastic pieces wash up every day. However, the only applicable solution is to lower the plastic manufacturing and consumption and at the same time enhancing debris management to stop the pieces of plastic enter the oceans to begin with, researchers say.

Tiesha loves to share her passion for everything that’s beautiful in this world. Apart from writing on her beauty blog and running her own beauty channel on Youtube, she also enjoys traveling and photography. Tiesha covers various stories on the website.