The & # 39; heavenly & # 39; Tropical islands that inspired Charles Darwin's first paper and book are now almost completely covered with 414 million pieces of plastic.
Once famous for their unspoiled beauty, the Cocos Islands off the coast of Australia were an important stop on the Beagle voyage of the biologist in 1836.
However, the islands are now flooded with waste, including millions of pieces of plastic, dozens of water bottles and hundreds of thousands of toothbrushes.
About 90 percent of the overwhelming 238 tons of waste on the islands are buried beneath the surface.
The & # 39; heavenly & # 39; tropical Cocos Islands that inspired Charles Darwin's first paper and book, are now almost completely covered with 414 million pieces of plastic (photo)
Scientists from the University of Tasmania collected plastic, glass, wood and metal objects from 25 beaches on seven 110 m² islands.
About 25 percent of the collected waste was disposable plastics, including straws, bags and toothbrushes.
The remote Cocos Islands – also known as the Keeling Islands – lie between Australia and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean. Only two of the 27 coral islands are inhabited.
Slightly more than half the waste on the islands consists of small pieces known as micro-debris that are between 2 and 5 mm long.
Dr. Jennifer Kavers, who investigated the islands as part of the study, said she & # 39; canaries in a coal mine & # 39; goods.
& # 39; It is becoming increasingly urgent that we act on the warnings they give us, & # 39; she said.
& # 39; Our estimate of 414 million pieces of 238 tons on Cocos is conservative because we have only sampled to a depth of ten centimeters and have no access to some beaches known as rubble hotspots.
Famous for their unspoiled beauty, the beaches of the Cocos Islands were visited by Charles Darwin in 1836 during his Beagle trip. Pictured: Dr. Jennifer Lavers
The remote Cocos Islands – also known as the Keeling Islands – lie between Australia and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean
& # 39; The plastic on Cocos consisted largely of disposable consumer items such as caps and straws, and a large number of shoes and leather belts. & # 39;
Report co-author Annett Finger, from Victoria University in Melbourne, called for a reduction in the amount of plastic produced worldwide.
& # 39; An estimated 12.7 million tons of plastic entered our oceans in 2010 alone, with around 40 percent of the plastics entering the waste stream in the same year that they are produced, & # 39; said Dr. Finger.
& # 39; As a result of the growth of single-use consumer plastics, it is estimated that there are now 525 trillion pieces of plastic plastic waste.
About 25 percent of the waste (photo) collected in the latest study was classified as disposable plastics, including straws, bags, and toothbrushes
& # 39; Plastic pollution is a well-documented threat to wildlife and the potential impact on humans is a growing field of medical research. & # 39;
Darwin & # 39; s visit to Cocos in 1836 offered him the opportunity to seek support for his theory and became central to his theory of coral reef development that led to his first paper and book on the subject.
He argued that volcanic islands in the tropical Pacific slowly allowed the formation of a living system, including ringed reefs, a barrier reef and a circular island.
The islands are lined with exotic palm trees, while the world-class turquoise water offers diving, snorkeling and excellent fishing.
Report co-author Annett Finger, from Victoria University in Melbourne, called for a reduction in the amount of plastic produced worldwide
Brad Farmer released a book that awards Cossies Beach on the Cocos Islands as the best in Australia, calling for it it is & # 39; almost perfect & # 39; while travel writers have described the islands as & # 39; heaven on earth & # 39 ;.
Dr. Finger said the large-scale production of plastic means that cleaning up the oceans is currently not possible & # 39 ;.
& # 39; The only viable solution is to reduce the production and consumption of plastic while improving waste management to prevent this material from entering our oceans & she said.
The full report is published in the journal Scientific reports.
The remote islands lie between Australia and Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean and only two of the 27 coral islands are inhabited
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