Untold Mass of Sea Trash Lurks in Seaweed Piling Up in Florida

Over the last year, Stetson University student Charlotte Kraft has been looking into how much plastic is ending up in the sargassum washing ashore on Florida beaches. Photo by Wendy Anderson
photo outside of Wendy Anderson
Wendy Anderson, PhD

Sargassum seaweed is bringing more than just a putrid smell to South Florida beaches. 

In a new study, Stetson University student Charlotte Kraft and environmental science professor Wendy Anderson have discovered that a strikingly high proportion of the stinky brown seaweed piles arriving on shore consists of seaborne plastic pollutants.

“We have a lot of single-use plastics and microplastics that are out in the ocean,” Kraft tells New Times. “They get broken down into smaller pieces, such as plastic nurdles, balloons, ribbons, microfibers, and fishing line ropes. I have a whole slew of different things I found in there.”

Read more on Miami New Times.