Millions of pieces of plastic waste found on remote island chain

Beaches on Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean covered with litter

Shocking evidence of the pollution that pervades the world’s oceans has come to light with the discovery that more than 400m pieces of debris litter the coastline of the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands. The layers of rubbish on the Indian Ocean archipelago weighed an estimated 238 tonnes, and included almost 1m shoes and 373,000 toothbrushes.

“The plastics on these beaches came from all over the world,” said Jennifer Lavers, the project leader and a research scientist from the University of Tasmania. “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.”