Tracking Trash: Flotsam Jetsam, and the Science of
by Loree Griffin Burns
Houghton Mifflin, 2007
For readers aged 10 and up
One of the year's best books for children is Loree Griffin Burns' Tracking Trash: Flotsam, Jetsam, and the Science of Ocean Motion. Burns writes about a scientist who studies ocean currents by keeping tabs on "flotsam and jetsam, floating trash that falls or is thrown from ships at sea." Augmented by full-color photographs, discussions of giant sneaker spills, masses of plastic netting bigger than school buses, and a Pacific ocean garbage dump the size of Alaska clearly illustrate not only water-current patterns but also the enormous toll that pollution is taking.
Some 80% of the Garbage Patch's contents comes from materials that wash into our oceans from land-based rivers and storm drains. (The Garbage Patch, by the way takes a week to get through by ship.) "What can I do?" a reader is likely to respond. Reduce, reuse, recycle, of course, and more. Loree is a blogging friend, and through her site, I found out about International Coastal Cleanup Day, scheduled in most places for Saturday, September 15th. You can find a cleanup site near your home, at the Ocean Conservancy's web site. The organization Save the Sound is coordinating all the efforts in Connecticut, for example.