By: Dianna Parker
On any given day at the Kittery Point Yacht Yard in Maine, you can find a dozen pieces of microplastics matted in with the seaweed by the docks. Many of the pieces are resin pellets, which are used in plastic production, but you can also find plastic foam and other various bits.
Nearby on a research vessel, a crew from the Rozalia Project is working to make sure those microplastics – and the rest of the trash in the ocean – goes away. The motto on board is that, “despite the challenges, it is possible to clean the ocean.”
Here’s one easy way: pick up a plastic bottle from the shoreline before it fragments into thousands of microplastics that are much harder to clean up.
I joined the Rozalia crew this week on Expedition CLEAN, a marine debris cleanup, education, and research initiative in the Gulf of Maine. The Rozalia Project is one of the NOAA Marine Debris Program’s partners in preventing marine debris from entering the ocean through education and outreach. Directly from the crew:
In the summertime, Rozalia Project operates from American Promise, a 60-foot sailboat that Dodge Morgan once used to sail nonstop around the world in record-breaking time. They bring marine debris dockside education to children across the country with the assistance of Hector the Collector, an underwater remote operated vehicle.
Expedition CLEAN will take us to remote islands off the coast of Maine, where we will pick up thousands of pieces of trash and derelict fishing gear, preventing plastics from becoming microplastics. When we’re not doing removal, we’ll test technologies and better understanding where debris concentrates.
Next week, we’ll take the marine debris education message to high school students at Hurricane Island Center for Science and Leadership’s marine biology program.
The Rozalia Project believes that success comes from addressing the entire water column, surface to seafloor, and using multiple methods from restoration (cleanup) to solutions-based research to prevention through education programs.
Part of that education effort is in amplifying the right messages: we can clean the ocean and you can be a part of it. Every little bit makes a difference.
Stay tuned for updates throughout the week!