Henderson Island Beach Clean-Up

In 2019, Toughsheet is sponsoring and taking part in an expedition to the
island, which aims to clear tonnes of plastic waste from its beaches

One of the world’s most remote places, an uninhabited coral atoll, is also one of its most polluted.

Henderson Island, a tiny landmass in the eastern South Pacific, has been found by marine scientists to have the highest density of anthropogenic debris recorded anywhere in the world, with 99.8% of the pollution plastic.

The nearly 18 tonnes of plastic piling up on an island that is otherwise mostly untouched by humans have been pointed to as evidence of the catastrophic, “grotesque” extent of marine plastic pollution.

Henderson Island is a UNESCO World Heritage site, located more than 3,000 miles from the nearest major land mass, and can lay claim to be one of the most remote places on the planet.

The Problem

Despite its near-perfect isolation, Henderson Island’s location, near the South Pacific Gyre, has seen it attract the unwanted title of having the highest density of plastic rubbish anywhere in the world.

Ocean currents collect waste from every corner of the globe and deposit it upon Henderson Island’s beaches. An estimated 38 million pieces of plastic litter the Island, with up to 13,000 new pieces washed up each day.

Expedition aims

The expedition aims to clear 10 tonnes of plastic waste from the island’s beaches and provide scientific data to monitor the rate of plastic accumulation and the impact it has upon the local wildlife.

Toughsheet sponsorship

Toughsheet is sponsoring the clean-up and we hope to manage a feasibility study around the potential to recycle the litter collected.
In close association with Valpak, in June, James Beard, Valpak’s Recycling Services Manager, will travel to the Island as part of a 12 person team tasked with monitoring plastic accumulation. He will spend four weeks travelling to the islands and helping with the beach clean-up.