• By Perla Tiburcio

The Pingelap Islands contain a large amount of people who are colorblind

Sanne De Wilde, a Belgian photographer, traveled to the Pingelap Islands to see how the islanders are connected with their environment. De Wilde heard from a listener during a radio interview about a book written about the Pingelap Islands and became interested.

De Wilde flew to Hawaii, the Marshall Islands, Pohnpei, and finally took a charter plane to the Pingelap Islands. De Wilde told CNN, “It is a little atoll in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a tiny dot in the big blue.”

De Wilde describes the oceans in gray, pale pink jungle vegetation, and the islanders in black and white from a point in which she thinks the Pingelap islanders see rather than how it is actually seen. De Wilde told CNN,” Color is just a word to those who cannot see it.” De Wilde was told by a majority of the islanders that they mostly saw the color red.

The Pingelap Islands have a large amount of islanders who are not able to distinguish color. Many of them are affected by achromatopsia, which is a disorder caused by decreased vision and light sensibility. It’s been said that the disorder came from a king who had various children in an attempt to save the population of the islanders when a tsunami hit the island. The king was affected by achromatopsia, and by increasing the population, many of the islanders inherited the rare gene that caused many of them to have achromatopsia.