The Easter Island is one of the most remote islands in the world and thousands of kilometers away from the coast. However, a vast quantity of garbage is washed up at the coast of the sparsely populated island. Almost 100 animal species (20 fish species, more than 50 bird species and 20 marine mammal species) are affected by the plastic pollution in this area. Photo: Martin Thiel, Location: Easter Island
Photo: Martin Thiel, Location: Easter Island
The microplastic concentration increases off the coast of Chile to the south pacific gyre to more than 20.000 particles/km2. This observation correlates with microplastic concentrations found in stomach contents of fish and sea birds. More microplastic was detected in animals from the open ocean than in the ones from the coast. Entanglement of animals in floating debris (mostly nets) was mainly observed in coastal regions.
Graphic: Thiel et al. 2018
Isolated microplastic from the stomach of a Christmas Shearwater, which was found dead.
Photo: Matías Portflitt Toro, Location: Insel Salas y Gómez
Meso- and microplastic which blocked the cloaca of a green turtle. After removal of the blockage, the turtle recovered and was released.
Photo: Guerra-Correa et al. (2007), Location: near Antofagasta, Chile
The shark was entangled in a closure ring for plastic drums.
Photo: Naiti Morales, Location: Rapa Nui, Easter Island
The cormorant builds its nest in cliffs. This couple collected plastic items and used it as nest material.
Photo: Ivan Torres, Location: Taltal, Chile