The Horrors Of Plastic On Henderson Island


The Guardian wishes to tell us of how awful this all is that a remote Pacific island has plastic on the beaches. Part of the Pitcairn group and uninhabited:

Henderson Island, uninhabited and a day’s sea crossing from the nearest sign of civilisation, should be an untouched paradise. Instead its beaches, which were awarded Unesco world heritage status in 1988, are a monument to humanity’s destructive, disposable culture. Along a 2.5km stretch of sandy beach, an estimated 18 tonnes of plastic has accumulated over decades at a rate of several thousand pieces of plastic every day.

One response is there’re no people there so who cares?

Another is this:

Howell says Henderson’s pollution is a stark reminder that plastic waste never truly disappears. To solve the problem, and keep debris from the oceans, there must be a change in how consumers use plastic, which is currently treated as a cheap commodity, to be thrown away after a single use. “If this isn’t a wake-up call that we need to change our global supply chains, get to a circular economy, I don’t know what is.”

The second is the more fatuous answer. Because, as they’ve found themselves:

Fishing buoys totalled about 40% of the weight, while rope and nets made up 20%. There were also about a dozen fish-aggregation devices (FADs), rudimentary rafts with netting that could hang as deep as 100 metres below the surface.

Note the “also”. So, the vast majority of this is fishing equipment. Which isn’t single use. Far from it, fishermen not only like to they positively desire to reuse it.

And what is there that they don’t mention is there? Plastic bags and straws. So, us using or not using plastic bags and straws has what effect upon plastics in that ocean? And yet what is the argument that we must not use plastic bags and or straws? The effect upon that ocean.

Yep, you got it, it’s all a heap of crock, isn’t it? And the only reason it’s not a great big steaming pile of crock is because the plastic doesn’t rot – unlike the argument.

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Leo SavanttQ46Boganboy Recent comment authors
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Beaches are littered with sand, stones, broken shells – which ‘never truly disappears’ bits of wood.

If micro plastics are dangerous to sea creatures why not sand and shards of shell. If a plastic straw is dangerous, why not a jagged-ended reed stalk or splinter of wood?

If a plastic bottle or cup is harmful to marine life, why not the bones, claws, beaks, fur, etc swallowed during feeding?


Plants during the carboniferous littered the earth with waste 300 million years ago. It’s only now that we’re recycling it. The coccoliths left a huge quantity of waste 70 million years ago, but we haven’t yet turned the white cliffs of Dover into cement.

I can see no reason why we, after whom the anthropocene is named, shouldn’t leave our own junk to commemorate our existence. Perhaps the cockroaches or rats that succeed us will find our plastic a useful fuel to start their own industrial revolution.

Leo Savantt
Leo Savantt

Plastics are oil in solid form, a fuel that should be burned. Lost fishing equipment is a problem, it makes fish more expensive, isn’t very attractive and is a hazard to some spieces.