Garbage in a Bottle

Who would collect bottles dumped into the ocean, only to put them back in? Over a 24-month period, about 300 numbered bottles containing messages will be set adrift in the waters surrounding the Turks and Caicos Islands to better understand the Atlantic Ocean's tides and currents, as well as the drifting patterns of litter.

What's ironic is that the message bottles will come from the ocean — they are being collected from beaches across the Islands. “This is not littering, but a recycling project,” says John Skippings, director of the Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board. “We will only use bottles that have been taken from the sea.”

Bottles are being collected by the Turks and Caicos National Museum, and for $5, islanders and tourists can place messages and a map with information about the Islands inside them before they are returned to the Atlantic.

The Islands' Department of Environment and Coastal Resources wants to identify differences in how the Atlantic basin's waters move. And the Tourist Board predicts some bottles may wash ashore nearby within weeks, while others may travel further and may take years to be found.

Source: Turks and Caicos Islands Tourist Board