Melbourne: An estimated 414 million pieces of plastic — including nearly one million shoes and 370,000 toothbrushes — have been found washed ashore on the beaches of remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean, according to a study.
The survey of plastic pollution, published in the journal Scientific Reports, estimated that the beaches on the islands are littered with 238 tonnes of plastic.
Remote islands which do not have large human populations depositing rubbish nearby are an indicator of the amount of plastic debris circulating in the world’s oceans, said Jennifer Lavers from the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania in Australia. “Islands such as these are like canaries in a coal mine and it’s increasingly urgent that we act on the warnings they are giving us,” Lavers said.
Plastic pollution is now ubiquitous in our oceans, and remote islands are an ideal place to get an objective view of the volume of plastic debris now circling the globe, researchers said. Plastic pollution is a well-documented threat to wildlife and its potential impact on humans is a growing area of medical research.