In early 1992 a shipping container travelling from Hong Kong to the USA lost a container during a storm. That container collided with another floating container (it is estimated 1382 are lost at sea each year) releasing 29,000 yellow rubber duckies into the ocean.
The 19,000 ducks that went south have been found on the shores of Australia Indonesia and even Chile.
The 10,000 ducks that were caught in northerly currents did a 3 year circuit of the North Pacific Ocean where some ended up in Hawaii and many in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Despite becoming marine debris, oceanographers did learn a lot about invisible ocean currents by following their journeys. Especially interesting was the group of ducks that drifted north through the Bering Strait between Alaska and Russia.
Drifting 2km a day in a frozen pack across the Arctic Ocean they were spotted in the Atlantic Ocean 5 years later.
Some landed on the east coast of the USA whilst others continued in currents being found in Scotland in 2007, 17 years after they went overboard! They travelled over 27,000 km in tact and not even sun bleached!
The ducks highlight just how connected the oceans are and how marine debris can be dropped in one part of the world and end up in another part of the world decades later. That’s a lot of opportunity to cause havoc with marine animals and birds.
#northernbeachescleanupcrew #beachcleanup #ducks #litter
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