Editor’s Scratchpad

Get the drift
and call NOAA

What appears to be a low-tech experiment isn't really, except for the human factor.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is tossing packets of 100 bright-orange cards into the water about a mile off Kalaeloa every month for the next two years to chart how currents and winds affect movement of material during various seasons.

The cards are numbered and dated to help scientists track them. Where the cards are found will give the scientists an idea of "collection beaches" where ocean debris, such as styrofoam, plastic and other potential pollutants, often accumulate.

The cards won't end up as litter, though. They are made of thin pieces of wood covered with non-toxic paint and will biodegrade after a few months.

If you find one, call the phone number on it and tell scientists where you found it and when. This experiment won't work if people don't help.

Cynthia Oi

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