"We have been finding plastic bottles, glass bottles, couple life vests, and boots." The Bering Sea has noted an abundance of foreign debris washing up on our shores. Communities like Unalakleet, Gambell, Savoonga and Nome have all reported and documented hoards of this debris.
Observation by Sharon Nayokpuk:
We have been finding plastic bottles, glass bottles, couple life vests, and boots.
Comments from LEO Editors:
This observation has been shared with the Kawerak Environmental Department.
In early August, an unusual amount of garbage began washing up on Alaskan coastline along the Bering Sea. After receiving multiple reports from coastal communities, Kawerak contacted the US Coast Guard to report the occurrence, citing increased shipping near the area due to changes in the timing and extent of seasonal sea ice. The garbage included bottles, cans, food containers, and other miscellaneous items with Russian and Korean text, suggesting that the garbage may be moving north and east with the ocean currants. The NOAA Marine Debris Program is working on identifying possible locations that the garbage may have come from, although there is variability in ocean currants and wind that make that work difficult. This event comes after an unusual white oily substance was found in the water near Savoonga over the summer, later identified as cooking oil or fish oil from a fish processing boat.
Gay Sheffield, SeaGrant marine agent in Nome, encourages communities to document the types, and the amounts, of garbage found on the beaches to help inform prevention plans as marine traffic increases in the area. Residents who find unusual trash are encouraged to take a photo, and call Gay Sheffield at 907-434-1149 or Kawerak’s Marine Advocate Austin Ahmasuk at 907-434-0962. They can also email NOAA’s reporting system at firstname.lastname@example.org.