Last week, a special capsule was launched at sea, some 25 miles West of the island of Texel in the Netherlands. The live position of this 'Plastic in a Bottle' capsule can be tracked online and shows the route that plastic waste may travel once it enters the North Sea.
Researcher Wouter Jan Strietman: “Not many people realise what happens to 'our' plastic waste once it enters the North Sea. To see where plastic waste may travel from the Netherlands, our collaboration partner Eelco Leemans of Leeways Marine released a special 'Plastic in a Bottle' capsule from a sailing ship some 25 miles West of the island of Texel in the Netherlands. We invite the public to follow the journey of this capsule with us online”.
“Under the influence of wind and sea currents, this capsule may travel to a nearby beach or, who knows, perhaps even to the Arctic. This is certainly a possibility, since every year, substantial amounts of plastic are transported there from Western Europe and North America. This accumulation of plastics poses a threat to nature, shipping safety and tourism in the region. In the Arctic Marine Litter Project, we are doing more extensive research into the origin and causes of marine litter in the Arctic, helping stakeholders in the region to prevent it at the source”, says Strietman.
The capsule was released to raise public awareness about plastic waste that ends up in the Arctic and the need for action to stop this. The ’Plastic in a Bottle’ communication project is an initiative by the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment Working Group (PAME). The launch of this capsule was organised by Wageningen University & Research and Leeways Marine, in collaboration with PAME and the Dutch Government, who funds the capsule. Once washed ashore, a message inside the capsule will instruct the finder what to do and who to contact.”