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Natural Awakenings Space & Treasure Coast Florida

BlueTubes Installed at Beaches to Help Us Keep Beaches Clean

Dec 01, 2015 07:27PM

To help keep beaches clean, BlueTubes were installed at public beaches this summer. Visitors leave some trash on beaches, but most of it comes from other places and is carried here by the Gulf Stream. "If plastic is covered with barnacles, it has been at sea for a long time. It may have come from the Caribbean or even the west coast of Africa," explains George Maul, Professor of Physical Oceanography at Florida Institute of Technology. Maul says plastic comes ashore when two events happen simultaneously: the Gulf Stream forms an eddy, and there is an onshore wind or surf. The Gulf Stream current, which flows up the eastern coast of the United States, is typically around 25 to 35 miles off Cape Canaveral. When an eddy forms at its western edge, it swirls away from the main current and enters coastal water where waves or wind can then transport plastic debris that had been carried by the Gulf Stream onto our shore.

Patty Goffinet, founder of the nonprofit, BlueTube Inc., which distributes BlueTubes says "Having plastic wash up on our beaches isn't necessarily bad, because it is much easier to remove plastic from the beach than it is from the ocean." BlueTubes are at dune cross-overs in all Brevard County run beach parks as well as those in Melbourne Beach, Indian Harbour Beach and Satellite Beach. They are filled with bags so people can grab one on their way to the beach, pick up trash and throw it away. Volunteers keep BlueTubes filled with clean, used plastic bags. Businesses fund BlueTubes through sponsorships and donate money to Sea Education Association for scientific research on ocean plastic as well.

See BlueTubeBeach.org for more information.

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