Pitcairn Islands to world: Stop polluting our ocean

Residents of a South Pacific island group including the world's most polluted atoll have issued a plea to the world to stop dumping plastics into the ocean.

A study released last month gave Henderson Island, part of the Pitcairn Islands group, the unenviable title after a survey found 671 pieces of debris per square metre of beach - the highest density ever recorded.

The World Heritage-listed island is uninhabited by humans, but there are obvious traces of them, with an estimated 17 tonnes of plastic debris making it to land. It's estimated more than 3570 new pieces of rubbish are washing ashore each day on one beach alone.

But now the editor of Pitcairn Island's monthly news outlet The Miscellany has told the world the island's terrible title isn't their fault.

"It's your problem, one not of our making," Melva Evans says.

She urged the world to think twice about where they dump their rubbish.

"Please dispose of garbage properly and, wherever possible, please stop using plastic.  Your convenience is not more important than my environment. The oceans are not convenient or acceptable dumping grounds.

"These 37 million pieces of trash are just some of the billions of pieces of debris that have washed up on our beaches and coastlines, and we are not amused."

She jokingly suggested they take a leaf from US President Donald Trump book and build a border fence around the 36-square kilometre island to stop more rubbish getting in.

Ms Evans says Pitcairn locals take pride in keeping their homes rubbish-free, and with fewer than 40 adults living there, there isn't the manpower to also keep the other islands - Henderson, Ducie and Oeno - clean.

Henderson Island is around 5000km east of Auckland and is part of the UK's Pitcairn Island territory.

It is so isolated it's only visited once or twice a decade for research purposes, and is home to 55 species found nowhere else on Earth.

More than 300 million tonnes of plastic is produced around the world each year, most of which isn't recycled.