We've all heard about, seen images of, the Pacific Gyres -- the great patches of noxious, toxic trash circulating in the northern Pacific, choking seabirds and turtles, poisoning fish (c.f. http://education.nationalgeographic.com/education/encyclopedia/great-pacific-garbage-patch/?ar_a=1). Those of us who've been to Nikumaroro know that even that very remote, uninhabited atoll has not been spared the Gyres' attention -- or that of some great floating patch of human-produced toxic waste.
Thanks to my colleague Art Carty, here's an image of what's happening to Niku -- at least the superficial expression of what's happening. This is just one random shot from 2010, taken from the location we call "Camp Zero" -- the likely location of Earhart's and Noonan's first camp if indeed they landed where we think they did. Camp Zero is scheduled for a close inspection as part of the planned 2014 Nikumaroro expedition (whose main focus will be on searching the deep reef face for the Electra -- see TIGHAR.org for details). Maybe those who inspect it will at least be able to relieve it of some trash. For awhile.