Remember that romanticised notion of placing a message in a bottle, putting it in the ocean and wistfully dreaming about where it would end up? Well, thanks to organisations like Adrift, you can track the whereabouts of your bottle – and almost every other bottle thrown into the ocean.
Based in Australia and run by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Adrift is a web-based platform that allows users to track the movement patterns of garbage in the ocean, providing animated data visualisations that make it easy for people to understand how rubbish moves and disperses through the planet’s waterways.
The team behind Adrift collect data from floating buoys which follow the currents just like plastic does and relay information every six hours about where they are and the conditions in that location. From this data, the team generates a representation of the likely path of the rubbish in each area, enabling them to project where and how patches of garbage and debris will travel over the course of a ten year period. It’s a fascinating yet stark look at just how much wide-reaching an impact our rubbish can have when it’s washed out to sea from the coastline.
Check out this video for a more detailed explanantion of how the Adrift tracking system works and head over to their website for the full program: