Researchers found 414 million pieces of plastic junk on Cocos islands – a collection of remote islands located in the Indian ocean.
“Cocos is literally drowning in plastic.”
Cocos islands are home to only about 600 people and super remote. They’re located about 1,300 miles(!) off the coast of Western Australia. However, researchers at the University of Tasmania’s Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies found 414 million pieces of plastic garbage – straws, shoes, and toothbrushes on the beaches of the islands.
Lead researcher Jennifer Lavers lamented that “Cocos is literally drowning in plastic”. She’s not lying – the numbers are staggering.
- The team found 373,000 toothbrushes & 977,000 shoes
- Single-use plastics like straws and plastic bags accounted for at least 25% of the debris
- Total weight of plastic junk was estimated to be about 524,000 lbs
- It’d take the population of Cocos 4,000 years to accumulate the same amount of trash
What’s worse is the numbers above don’t even paint the real picture as the team couldn’t get access to the two known debris “hot spots” on the islands.
Australia is heading into climate change denial direction
According to a 2014 research, oceans contain an approx. 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic — that’s more than the number of stars in the Milky Way. One million birds and more than 100,000 marine mammals are killed from ocean plastic caused deaths each year. Moreover, a recent study predicted the amount of ocean plastic will triple by 2025.
On Wednesday, The UK govt announced that it will ban plastic straws, stirrers, and cotton buds from April 2020. England currently uses 4.7 billion plastic straws, 316M plastic stirrers and 1.8 billion plastic-stemmed cotton buds each year.
Australia, the sovereign state of Cocos islands, however, is moving backward. Scott Morrison, who stopped the country from paying into the Green Climate Fund, which helps developing nations and small island states, just got re-elected as Prime Minister. Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State U, upon learning Morrison’s win, said “we have lost Australia for now”.