NOAA’s marine debris team removed an astounding 14 metric tons of trash and discarded fishing gear from Midway Atoll this spring. 

This includes 4,781 bottle caps, 1,249 cigarette lighters and 886 slippers. The team also found toilet seats, soccer balls, a bowling ball and a fishing boat that was lost during the Japanese tsunami, according to a post on NOAA’s website this week.

The remote island is 1,200 miles from Honolulu. 

The workers pulled trash from the reefs surrounding the island as well as the shore. All of the debris caught along reefs was discarded fishing gear, including large nets and heavy rope, which pose a threat to endangered monk seals and green sea turtles. 

Read the full report of their 21-day trip here.

(Photo: NOAA, Kristen Kelly)

(Photo: NOAA, Edmund Coccagna)

Sophie Cocke