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1 of 4 © 2021 Justin Gilligan

A surgical mask from the APL England container spill caught on a hard coral (Acropora sp.) surrounded by red algae (Asparagopsis taxiformis). The shallow reefs surrounding Lord Howe are dominated by a mix of coral and algae. 318 species (15%) of algae are endemic. Location: Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australia.

Art and Documentary Photography - Loading LordHoweMask_04.jpg
2 of 4 © 2021 Justin Gilligan

A mosaic of masks insitu washed washed onto the shore from the APL England container spill on Lord Howe Island. This image shows 36 masks washed up at various locations on the island. 1109 masks have been collected in total between 3 August and 27 September 2020. Around 440 species of fish occur in these waters, fourteen are endemic to the region. Location: Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australia.

Art and Documentary Photography - Loading LordHoweMask_05.jpg
3 of 4 © 2021 Justin Gilligan

Targetted beach clean-ups were conducted by concerned residents, staff from the Lord Howe Island Board and Lord Howe Island Marine Park with masks collected from the shallow water, beaches and rocky headlands surrounding the island. Location: Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australia.

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4 of 4 © 2021 Justin Gilligan

Caitlin Woods (bottom) and Sallyann Gudge (top) of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park count individual masks and bags of masks washed onto the shores of Lord Howe Island as a result of the APL England container spill. Location: Lord Howe Island, New South Wales, Australia.

POST
Surfing face masks: Lord Howe Island

Face masks recently washed onto the shores of Lord Howe Island from the Singapore-flagged APL England - a cargo ship that lost 50 containers in rough seas about 45 miles south-east of Sydney on 24 May 2020 while transiting from China to Melbourne.


Lord Howe Island is a remote World Heritage listed island located 435 miles north-east of

Sydney, that ironically has no recorded cases of coronavirus to date.


The waters surrounding the island support the world's southern-most tropical coral reef.

Beneath the surface is a unique mix of temperate and tropical species and habitats that

occur here as the result of converging tropical and temperate currents. These same

currents facilitated the transport of the masks to the island.


Debris collected from Lord Howe Island, and from beaches on Australia's eastern coast,

will form part of a maritime investigation. Regardless of the investigation outcome, the full environmental impact of discarding a significant volume of waste into the open ocean will never be fully quantified.


Full story and gallery of images at Australian Geographic: https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2020/10/face-masks-floated-all-the-way-to-lord-howe-island-making-for-devastating-images/

Justin Gilligan
May 21, 2021

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