This is Henderson Island
It lies 3,600 miles to the West of Chile and 3,200 miles to the East of New Zealand and is almost exactly in the middle of the South Pacific Ocean. The island is part of the Pitcairn archipelago, a UK Overseas Territory that consists of just four islands, of which only Pitcairn is inhabited. Pitcairn itself is home to fewer than 50 people.
Photograph courtesy of Dr Jennifer Lavers
As an uninhabited atoll in such an isolated area, Henderson Island can claim to be one of the most remote places on the planet and in 1988 the island became a designated UNESCO world heritage site, noted for its remarkable biodiversity and isolation.
In 2016, the British Government created the Pitcairn Marine reserve, which at 3.5 times the size of the UK is one of the largest Marine Protected Areas on the planet. The reserve protects 320,000 square miles of ocean and the 1,249 species of mammals, seabirds and fish that live there so that it can enjoyed by future generations.
The problem of plastic pollution
Henderson Island Expedition: Beach-clean project
As part of the clean-up team tasked with clearing the beaches, I’m thrilled to be able to represent Valpak on such an incredible project, but saddened to see first-hand the damage that poor waste management practices can have on the most secluded areas of the world and the species that inhabit it. In the grand scheme of things, the project will only provide a fleeting respite to Henderson Island itself, but by raising awareness and showing the impact that waste mismanagement is having around the world we’re hopeful that a lasting change may be felt beyond the beaches of one small island in the South Pacific. The expedition has been made possible by generous assistance from Toughsheet Environmental, Architectural & Community Planning Inc, The Zoological Society of London, The Pew Trusts, Blue Belt Programme (UK Government), Schwab Charitable, Force Blue, Pitcairn Island Council, Pitcairn Island Government, Howell Conservation Fund, Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance, BMAS Agency.
If you are interested in following my journey and the work the team will be doing, sign up to Valpak's Industry News Update or follow Valpak Limited on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. All relevant tweets will be marked with the following hashtags: #HendersonBeachClean, #HendersonIsland, #PlasticPollution, #ZeroWaste, #NoExcuseForSingleUse, #BeTheChange, #SaveOurSeas, #TrashtagChallenge.