On September 19, 2020, a total of 40 students and staff from Kwajalein High School went to the island Gehh for the third annual trip. Our task: Collect and document all the trash we can in a 1-2 hour period. From my limited time and distance traveled on the island, the amount of trash I saw was depressing. Bottles, cans, diapers, rope, and other miscellaneous items galore, not to mention, millions of microplastics. As I trudged through the outer edges of the island, I picked up whatever bottles I could find, which wasn’t very hard; plastic bottles could be found anywhere from 1 inch to 5 feet apart. I couldn’t believe the amount of human apathy that had washed up onto the shores of this beautiful island. In total, we found over 1800 plastic bottles in the small 1-2 hour period of searching. That was within only a small portion of the island. Imagine what all that was left behind, or how much trash there is on the other thousands of islands in the Pacific. It is also interesting to note that we, in the Pacific, are thousands of miles away from any large population center.
Along with over 1800 plastic bottles, we also found
96 metal cans
17 glass bottles
Over 300 bottle caps
1 swimming fin
And anywhere between 100-1000 pieces of unidentified plastic