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10 (almost) deserted islands

By: Josh Lew on May 23, 2014, 8:37 a.m.
A pristine beach of Henderson Island.

Photo: Angela K. Kepler/Wikimedia Commons

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Henderson Island

Located in the South Pacific, tiny Henderson Island is virtually uninhabitable by humans — it has steep sea cliffs and no fresh water source. What it does have, however, is a population of animal species that are not seen anywhere else on Earth. Four endemic bird species, a number of unique plant species and even unusual butterflies and snails call Henderson home. The island also has huge phosphate reserves that have never been touched. Henderson is one of the Pitcairn Islands, which were made famous by "Mutiny on the Bounty."

Sadly, even though humans don't live here, their presence is still apparent on Henderson Island thanks to the 13,000 items of plastic debris that wash up on the shores daily. All that plastic has resulted in roughly 18 tons of debris, 68 percent of which isn't even visible thanks to it being buried at least 10 centimeters into the ground. Crabs on the island have started using the plastic trash as homes, and that is not an ideal plan since much of the plastic "is old, it’s brittle, it’s sharp, it’s toxic," one researcher told the Guardian,