Sections of coastline of Heard and Macquarie Islands were surveyed for marine debris in the summer of 1987–88 and 1989, respectively. These surveys were carried out at the same sites as previous surveys in 1986–87 at Heard Island, and in 1988 at Macquarie Island. The minimum rate of artefact accumulation was 13 objects per km of shoreline per year for Heard Island, and 90 objects per km of shoreline per year for Macquarie Island. Drift-cards, released from known locations and collected on the two islands, show a similar artefact catchment area.
Plastic litter was a major component of the debris at both islands. Fisheries-related debris accounted for 40% of all artefacts on Heard Island, compared with 29% on Macquarie Island. Entanglement of Fur Seals appears to be more common at Heard Island, while plastic ingestion by seabirds appears to be more common at Macquarie Island.