Conservationists claim that thousands of pieces of plastic debris have washed up on an isolated South Atlantic island.
They claim that litter found off the coast of Ascension Island’s south-western coast has been traced to Japan, China, and South Africa.
Five weeks ago, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL), team assessed the extent of plastic pollution in London.
They reported that more than 900 marine species are in danger.
Ascension Island is home to a variety of native species that have been negatively affected by plastic pollution. These include the frigate bird, land crab and many species of sharks and turtles as well as fish and seabirds.
Many schemes have been launched on the remote British-owned island to preserve its natural biodiversity. These were both initiated by the government and independent groups.
Fiona Llewellyn (ZSL Marine conservation team marine biologist) stated that “there is too much plastic being misused badly.”
She said that it was “heart-breaking” to see the state of plastic over there and added that governments and big brands needed to be held accountable for the mess.
Ms. Llewellyn found over 7,000 pieces of plastic waste during the expedition, and just 1,000 in one beach hut.
The crisis is affecting the small island of 800 inhabitants. The island is responsible for only a small percentage of the plastic that is washed up on its beaches. Ms Llewellyn stated that it was easy to see that the majority of plastic is coming from other countries.
Animals are becoming more aware of the dangers of plastic being inhaled by their bodies and getting caught up in it. Microplastics are a growing concern due to how they make their way up the food chain.
Plastic bottles, broken down plastic, fishing gear, and cigarette bits are some of the common types of plastic found along the island’s coast.
Many of the materials end up on steep cliffs, which can be dangerous and difficult to reach. She said, “It was very difficult to straggling down rock faces to reach this shoreline and count the plastic that was here.”
In a joint effort to combat plastic pollution, the ZSL Marine conservation team collaborated with the Ascension Island government’s conservation staff, St Helena National Trust and St Helena’s government.
The project is expected to last three years. It involves monitoring water currents and movements, identifying plastic bottles and assessing expiry dates and production dates to determine when and where they may have entered water.