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March 2022    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 37, No. 3   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Lego Reveals the Longevity of Plastic in the Ocean

from the March, 2022 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Remember those 28,800 plastic duck bath toys that were lost overboard in the North Pacific in 1992 and floated around the world? When they were found on beaches, students used their location to understand the role of the Earth's rotation in creating ocean currents.

In 1997, the Tokio Express, bound for New York from Rotterdam, lost 62 containers overboard to a freak wave off Land's End in southwest England. These, too, have provided clues about the effects of oceans and tides, because one container contained 4.8 million Lego pieces. Fishermen in Cornwall are still bringing up Lego items when trawling 25 miles offshore Newlyn in southwest England. Caught in nets, they include toy roof tiles, door frames, car chassis, octopuses, seaweed, and lots of Lego bricks....

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