As plastics in the world’s oceans teeters at the tipping point, increasing public exposure to this environmental catastrophe is necessary. Understanding the factors that help bring this form of marine debris to our coastlines is crucial for a change in the human behavior that leads to this and policy that can help mitigate this increasing problem. Current beach sweeps in New Jersey that contribute to the Marine Debris Index are mostly scheduled events. These scheduled events work to coordinate the public’s help in removing the debris but because of their nature fail to incorporate real time data from post storm events. In New Jersey the amount of marine debris washed ashore is highest during a Nor’easter. Developing a long term research study that focuses on debris assessment immediately after storm events is critical to better understanding plastic’s increasing place in the marine environment. Research such as this will provide a guide to help change policy showing definitively the degree to which plastic debris is increasing world wide. ShiftingSands.Org is currently developing a research model and is actively working to get funding. We will also be developing a crowdsourcing method that is inclusive within the research model.
If you or your organization is interested in participating or you would like to help fund this project please contact us.