Significant plastic accumulation on the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Australia

For over 60 years, our oceans have been a reservoir for exponentially increasing amounts of plastic waste. Plastic has been documented at all levels of the marine food web, from the deepest oceanic trenches to the most far-fung beaches. Here, we present data on the presence of signifcant quantities of plastic on the remote Cocos (Keeling) Island group, located 2,100km of the northwest coast of Australia. From our comprehensive surveys of debris on the beach surface, buried, and beach-back vegetation, we estimate there are 414 million anthropogenic debris items, weighing 238 tonnes, currently deposited on the Cocos (Keeling) Island group.

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