School Email Exchange

Will you be able to trace where the plastics come from and how old they are?

Posted on October 12 2012

Question submitted by King Philip Regional High School

The boat hook and dip net are used to bring our first buoy and the organisms living on it aboard.

This is a very good question that scientists would love to better understand!  Right now we look for indications such as identification numbers, letters, or characters that may be able to point us to its origin.  For example, the first object we collected was a buoy that had Asian characters on it, our only hint of its origin.  In terms of age, plastic is degraded due to exposure by the sun and the sea so we guess that large intact pieces more recently ended up in the ocean than small broken pieces.