The Midway Atoll is a tiny speck of land near the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The area is home to many species of plants, birds and coral. But it’s also become a dumping ground for plastic.

It’s home to the largest albatross colony in the world and is a place that many birds stop at and use. Located in the middle of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the land is a scene of plastic and trash debris. These islands, including Hawaii, have started catching tons of debris that float into the ocean.

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The island is now covered in bird skeletons where plastic is visible inside their partially decomposed bellies. Toothbrushes, bottle caps, and cigarette lighters litter the island. Sharp plastic perforates intestines of birds.

Athline Clark, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s superintendent for this region, said of the plastic and birds, “There isn’t a bird that doesn’t have some (plastic). They fill their bellies up with plastics instead of food and eventually either choke or just don’t have enough room for actual nourishment and perish.”

Scientists estimate that 57,000 pounds of plastic and marine debris wash into this area each year. Plastics range from microplastics to huge fishing nets. This plastic debris comes from ocean currents but also from the birds themselves. Albatross birds will pick up plastic they think is food and feed it to their young. Up to five tons of plastic is brought to the island this way.

Watch this video to see the damage

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Read more One Green Planet news about plastic and birds, including Birds Living on an Island 2,000 Miles From People Are Dying From Our Plastic Pollution (VIDEO) and Sea Gull Population Greatly Affected Due to Ingesting Plastic Rubber Bands Mistaken for Worms.

There are products you may be using or habits you may have that contribute to plastic pollution. Learn more about how the use of Teabags, Cotton Swabs, Laundry, Contact Lenses, Glitter and Sheet Masks pollute our oceans so you can make more informed decisions going forward. There are also numerous simple actions and switches that can help cut plastic out of our lives including, making your own cosmetics, shampoo, toothpaste, soap, household cleaners, using mason jars, reusable bags/bottles/straws, and avoiding microbeads

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