When I think about marine litter, most of the time I am thinking wildlife and beaches. I know that trash, once it enters the water, moves, and on large scales some of this movement is predictable, like the accumulation of debris in the five ocean basin gyres. Tracking the movements of this trash on a small scale is much more challenging. I am trained as a biologist, so I often overlook the importance of understanding how and where our trash is moving.
The Consortium for Advanced Research on Transport of Hydrocarbon in the Environment (CARTHE) is attempting to answer these questions in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. The scientific details still challenge me, but the results are astonishing. Using both drift cards and satellite drifters, CARTHE is showing us where our litter might end up.
Learn more about the CARTHE Bay Drift Project here. There is an awesome video of the tracks which is worth seeing.