Worlds most polluted island has been in wrong place for 85 years

A remote Pacific island has been marked in the 'wrong place' for 85 years, the Royal Navy has discovered.

British sailors now say Henderson Island, which has been declared the 'most polluted in the world', is in fact one mile south of the position it has been placed on charts used since 1937.

Its title of "most polluted island in the world" is a result of Pacific currents dumping masses of debris onto the uninhabited island's shoreline.

An estimated 270 objects were up on the unfortunate island's beaches every day – with as many as 40 million items of plastic and rubbish blighting Henderson island's landscape.

Yesterday evening (Thursday, March 10), Patrol ship HMS Spey confirmed the error while checking and updating charts of waters around British Overseas Territories.

The South Pacific island, which is roughly the size of the city of Oxford, is one of four in the extremely remote Pitcairn chain, with Chile 3,600 miles to its east and New Zealand 3,200 miles southwest of the archipelago

The Royal Navy has been using the UK Hydrographic Office's navigational charts for more than 225 years and over the past 15 years, the majority of the Fleet has begun to use digital charts.

  • 'Putin planning terror attack at Chernobyl nuclear power plant' warns Ukraine

According to the Navy, areas and seas which are regularly used are well covered by the electronic system. which ensures navigational accuracy and allows sailors to "interrogate" key features such as landmarks, buoys and depths.

The Pitcairn chain has had limited, satellite-based data collection, which had already highlighted the inaccurate positioning on historical charts, so the HMS Spey was deployed to gather data.

Lieutenant Michael Royle used radar imagery gathered by Spey’s sensors and GPS positioning, and by overlaying the details on the existing charts of the Pitcairn chain, was able to see the error.

Lieutenant Royle explained: "In theory, the image returned by the radar should sit exactly over the charted feature – in this case, Henderson Island.

  • NASA spends whole month preparing for catastrophic asteroid impact in scary scenario

"I found that wasn’t the case – the radar overlay was a mile away from the island, which means that the island was plotted in the incorrect position when the chart was first produced.

"The notes on the chart say that it was produced in 1937 from aerial photography, which implies that the aircraft which took the photos was slightly off in its navigational calculations.”

This discovery comes as part of a larger government programme to update maritime charts of oceans and seas around the UK’s Overseas Territories.

To stay up to date with all the latest news, make sure you sign up to one of our newsletters here.

The programme uses sonar, airborne laser techniques, and satellites to further the Navy's understanding and to help them manage and protect the territories.

The last time the Navy visited Henderson Island was late 2018, when HMS Montrose went to the island in a bid to observe the impact of plastics in the oceans.

"Scientists in the UK have really scant data about the ocean in this region – its salinity, temperature, water pressure and the like," Lieutenant Royle added.

"They are keen to understand climate change in the area."

Source: Read Full Article