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Current event: Scientists study trash, pollution flow in Biscayne Bay

(Miami Herald)
September 13, 2016
by Jenny Staletovich
In mangroves behind Vizcaya, plastic bottles, tampon applicators and bits of styrofoam regularly get trapped in the tangle of roots as if captured in a storm drain. Out the mouth of the Miami River and across Biscayne Bay on Miami Beach, stormwater flushes human and animal wastes and an array of foul stuff. On Virginia Key, a vial of blood sticks out of the sand.

How trash gets there and where that and other pollution flows around Biscayne Bay remain largely a mystery. But now a team of University of Miami scientists think they may know how to find the answer.

Using technology developed to track the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the researchers have teamed up with school kids and local museums to track the complex network of micro currents that crisscross the bay, astelin. While they concede the project is just a beginning, they hope mapping the currents will help inform government planners as they tackle a host of increasing threats to the urban but still vital bay — from flooding tied to rising seas to bigger ships sailing through the Panama Canal.

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