DISCOVERY Yacht Sea Level
Gasparilla Island, West Coast of Florida
In June of 2020, DISCOVERY Yacht Sea Level deployed a plastic sample collection net in the waters near Gasparilla Island, on the west coast of Florida. This is in furtherance of the S.A.R.A.H. Initiative: a citizen science initiative wherein captains and crew tow a net behind their vessel for 15 minutes, collecting anything that is just below the surface of the water. The purpose of these tows is to collect samples of plastic pollution from the water. These samples are then analyzed in a lab in order to assess their chemical composition. Each variety of plastic absorbs different types of chemicals and they have varying degradation rates in the marine environment. Identifying the composition and location of ocean plastics will help us predict their long-term effects and reveal their ultimate fates. Uncovering the prevalence and location of distinctive plastic types can help us pinpoint the major source.