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10 (almost) deserted islands

By: Josh Lew on April 23, 2018, 10:11 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 due to the estimated 37.7 million pieces of trash cluttering the island and water — making it the highest levels of plastic pollution in the world. All that plastic has resulted in roughly 18 tons of debris, 68 percent of which isn't even visible because it is being buried at least 10 centimeters into the ground. Researchers estimate the island has 671 plastic items per square meter and 17 to 268 new items wash ashore daily on North Island.

"The majority of items appear to be coming from land originally, which made its way into the ocean and that really falls on our shoulders to make a difference and to reduce our demand for these products," Australian researcher Dr. Jennifer Lavers told ABC News Australia.