Mississippi engineers and researchers are partners in an international expedition to measure plastic debris in oceans around the world.
The Ocean Cleanup, a Dutch foundation that is developing technology to clean up the oceans, released findings of the first aerial survey of the plastic accumulation zone between Hawaii and California.
Observers recorded more than 1,000 items in 2½ hours — more debris than they expected to find in the so-called “Great Pacific Garbage Patch.”
A modified C-130 Hercules aircraft based at Stennis International Airport flew over the debris on several missions. The plane is equipped with Coastal Zone Mapping and Imaging LIDAR developed by Stennis Airport–based Teledyne Optech, and a data card built by NVision Solutions of Diamondhead.
National Oceans and Applications Research Center at Stennis Space Center is collaborating with The Ocean Cleanup foundation to exchange environmental data and develop research projects to resolve global environmental issues that affect South Mississippi.
The aerial information, combined with the data gathered earlier by The Ocean Cleanup’s fleet of 30 vessels, will help the foundation develop the best methods to collect, gather and recycle the plastic waste. That is scheduled to begin before the end of the decade.