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20 May 2014

ALIEN DEBRIS: FOUND IN BANGLADESH, NOT MADE IN BANGLADESH

This weekend the Kewkradong Bangladesh team headed to Coxs Bazar, the longest sea beach in the world, to have some fun in the sea and also collect some data for the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology. The heat on the beach was brutal. The sand was so hot that we couldn’t take our […]

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This weekend the Kewkradong Bangladesh team headed to Coxs Bazar, the longest sea beach in the world, to have some fun in the sea and also collect some data for the Korea Institute of Ocean Science and Technology.

The heat on the beach was brutal. The sand was so hot that we couldn’t take our shoes off, and everyone was wrapped up like we were camouflaging for battle, but in between surfing and swimming, we did a mini survey of six different sites along the shoreline.

We were looking for alien debris.

Alien debris is any debris that is not native to the area it is found in (it comes from somewhere else). We were wondering…what could we find on the shores of Bangladesh that had washed up from ships or other countries?

We did not find a lot, but we did collect a light bulb that had been floating for so long it had shells and sea plants growing on it. It was still fully intact, and must have come either from the shores of another country or from a ship, because it was a type that is not available locally.

We are lucky in Bangladesh because we are protected from alien debris by the Bay of Bengal. Alien debris, or ocean-based marine trash, is carried around the oceans by marine currents, but none of these currents flow directly past our shores.

Next time you are on the beach, or near any waterway (river, etc), take a moment to do a small alien debris survey. Can you see anything floating in the water or washed up on the shore that you cannot normally find in Bangladesh? How old is it – has it got anything growing on it, or has it changed shape at all? Is there any date on it? Any hints of where it has come from? Take a photo of your interesting alien trash and post it on Trashmaniac.

After we finished collecting and recording our data, we took a second to remind ourselves of how important our waters are by jumping in the beautiful ocean for an afternoon surf (and a few bruises – we’re definitely still beginners!). Our waters really are the world’s biggest playground – lets make sure they are clean and trash-free to play in for years to come.

Kewkradong Bangladesh is looking forward to heading to Korea in June to present our alien debris findings in Bangladesh. Thank you to the Korean Institute of Ocean Science and Technology for their ongoing passion for ocean and their support for our work.

By Sarah-Jane Saltmarsh

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