Millions of pieces of plastic litter found on remote islands in Indian Ocean

(CNN) - A new study says 414 million pieces of plastic have washed ashore on the remote Cocos Islands in the Indian Ocean.

A remote island chain in the Indian Ocean is covered with millions of pieces of plastic. (Source: Jennifer Lavers/CNN)

The mostly uninhabited 27-island chain, also known as the Keeling Islands, is an Australian territory.

Although it's home to only about 500 people, the beaches are littered with 238 tons of plastic.

Much of the trash is single-use consumer items, like bottle caps, straws, shoes and sandals.

Researchers say there is probably more plastic debris on the beaches than their estimate, which they called "conservative."

The study was published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports.

Copyright 2019 CNN. All rights reserved.