MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A Myrtle Beach trash can crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
Keith McGreal, who lives along Ireland’s west coast, said he found the blue bin in Mulranny, County Mayo on Sunday.
McGreal told WMBF News he and his family were walking the beach when they saw a large object washed up on the shore.
The trash can weathered somewhat throughout the trip, but the Town of Myrtle Beach logo is still clearly visible.
McGreal has said so far that he knows very little about Myrtle Beach. But after finding the trash, he said his family immediately researched and learned how far the object had traveled.
McGreal added that it was rare for him and his family to find anything identifiable on the beach that they could trace back to an actual location.
“It’s like a message in the bottle. The fact that I’m talking to you people on social media opens up these channels of communication between two communities on either side of the world and that’s important to me, ”said McGreal.
He added that finding the trash can was also a teaching moment for his family about how far debris can travel in the water.
Meanwhile, there’s no way to know when the town of Myrtle Beach lost the trash, but authorities believe it may have been washed away in a storm.
“I don’t think it’s possible to tell when he disappeared, but it was probably during a wind or a storm. We usually remove trash cans from the beach before a hurricane, but this one apparently had a mind of its own, ”the city of Myrtle Beach said on Facebook.
Some experts provided additional information on how the trash traveled nearly 4,000 miles from the Grand Strand to Europe.
“It’s not that unusual actually,” said Paul Gayes, executive director of the Center for Marine and Wetland Studies at Coastal Carolina University. “There is a large scale circulation in the Atlantic Ocean and we know of one arm of this current which is the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream is a very strong and warm current that runs south to north along the east coast and across North America.
“The Gulf Stream flows roughly parallel to our coast until it reaches the Outer Banks all the way to North Carolina,” said Frank Strait, Extreme Weather Liaison Officer for the Department of Natural Resources. of the South Carolina Division of Terrestrial Waters and Conservation. “Then it turns more east-northeast from there. It then flows to 40 degrees north and 30 degrees west before starting to branch off in three different directions. One of those branches is heading to Ireland, so that’s probably what happened. “
“We will sometimes see debris from the east coast of the United States moving up the Gulf Stream, entering that North Atlantic Current and ending up and settling in Europe,” said Clayton Whitesides, associate professor of geography at Coastal. Carolina. University. “It’s part of the subtropical North Atlantic vortex. It is this great circular movement of four different currents.
Experts say a big takeaway from the story is for people to pay even more attention to anything that might be floating in the water.
“This is direct evidence that what enters the ocean floats and is transported to places,” Whitesides said. “I think it shows us that we should know where our trash is going, so when you go to the beach, to make sure you collect your trash and put it in the correct bins. Or when you are recreationally on one of our waterways you think of some of the debris that can end up in those bodies of water and eventually reach the ocean and once it hits the ocean , it is possible that they are transported in the vortex of the North Atlantic. It is also possible that it gets stuck in the middle of the gyre.
McGreal said the trash can is currently being used as a trash can on the remote part of the beach where it was found.
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