The latest Plastic in a Bottle launch is the seventh capsule released since the project, called “Plastic in a Bottle,” started in 2019, and the first one launched around sea ice
To gain insight into Arctic plastic pollution, the Arctic Council’s Protection of the Arctic Marine Environment (PAME) Working Group is launching GPS-equipped capsules into the ocean to track how plastics move into and out of Arctic waters.
The capsule was tossed into the ocean at 84 degrees north during a research cruise for students and early career scientists by the Norwegian Polar Institute on the icebreaker RV Kronprins Haakon.
According to our knowledge of the area, we anticipate the capsule will drift westward into the Fram Strait, and possibly reach Greenland or Iceland, said Ole Arve Misund, Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute (2017-2023).
The project helps the public visualize how an item of rubbish can travel miles away and affect the marine environment.
The capsules are designed with a GPS transmitter, allowing PAME, researchers and the public to follow the bottle’s way in real time through an online map on PAME’s website.
However, the latest capsule’s proximity to sea ice may have hindered the solar-powered GPS. After its launch on 18 August, the GPS signal has gone quiet. The GPS signal is likely to be available again this summer along with the 2024 summer sea ice retreat.
Also, there is a message inside the capsule that will instruct the finder on what to do and who to contact.