The Aldabra atoll in the outer Seychelles has managed to escape many human threats over the centuries and remains a unique and isolated haven for biodiversity in the Indian Ocean, becoming a UNESCO world heritage site in 1982 and described by Sir David Attenborough as ‘one of the world’s greatest surviving natural treasures’.
However, Aldabra has not remained immune to one of the newly discovered threats to our oceans – plastic waste. The positioning of the islands and the surrounding current network has resulted in a massive build up of ocean plastic across the atoll. This, combined with the islands remoteness and difficulty to access, means that it has been impossible up until now to clear the atoll of this rubbish. As can be imagined, plastic pollution at this level is having seriously detrimental effects on the unique island wildlife both on land and in the surrounding ocean habitats.
We are a collaborative, international project involving the Seychelles Islands Foundation, The Queen’s College, Oxford, students from the University of Oxford and young volunteers from the Seychelles.
In February & March 2019, we carried out a 5-week expedition to Aldabra to clear the atoll of man-made rubbish and remove as much debris as possible to return the island to it’s former pristine state. We hope to quantify the amount and types of plastic that are finding their way onto the atoll and find a sustainable way to process it, as well as shine a light on the situation in Aldabra and promote more broadly the reduction of plastic waste, for the benefit of our oceans and natural ecosystems.
Follow our story as we prepare for, embark on and return from this challenging and exciting expedition to one of the remotest islands in the ocean.