An expedition to Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn archipelago, is slated to take place in June 2019 on the Bravo Supporter. The expedition brings together scientists, journalists, film makers, artists and a beach clean-up-team. The overarching objective – driven by the Pitcairn Island community - is to study the plastic pollution on Henderson Island and raise awareness of the global problem. It provides an opportunity for key Pitcairn and ocean stakeholders to effectively communicate the source, scale, range and impacts of ocean debris on Henderson and the Pacific Ocean through science, art and media. The team will also study and record the Henderson marine environment – promoting the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve and the benefits of large, fully protected marine protected areas.
The team will also study and record the Henderson marine environment – promoting the Pitcairn Island Marine Reserve and the benefits of large, fully protected marine protected areas. The expedition builds upon a 2015 analysis which brought the pollution of Henderson Island to global attention. The work estimated that Henderson has >18 tonnes of plastic on its beaches. According to the study, the 38km2 island has >38 million pieces of plastic upon its shores – over one million pieces per square kilometre. Conservative estimates suggest that 3,500-13,500 new plastic items wash up on Henderson each day. The 2 km long East Beach, upon which the two-week 2019 expedition will focus, is polluted by 30 million plastic items. The 2015 work served as a reminder that the long-term protection of large areas of ocean needs to be partnered by science and messaging capable of changing attitudes towards the way we live, consume, and discard on land.
The 2019 expedition has been sanctioned by The Pitcairn Island Council and the Governor of the Pitcairn Islands.
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