By Catherine Kozak / Coastal Review Online
Corolla, N.C. — The U.S Navy is investigating how more than three dozen clear plastic-coated disks of compressed trash, apparently from one or more naval vessels, washed up on northern Outer Banks beaches in recent weeks.
Beachcombers were initially baffled about the source of the large – and smelly – disks, but conveniently, one of them contained a document clearly visible among the trash with a seal that read, “Commander Naval Surface Force Atlantic.”
“These disks appear to be the same type of compressed plastic disks Navy ships produce routinely as a means of safely storing plastic waste aboard,” Ted Brown, installations and environmental public affairs officer for U.S. Fleet Forces Command, said in an email, responding to provided photographs of the mystery disks.
Personnel on Navy ships, he added, are prohibited from throwing the disks – or any plastic waste – in the ocean.
“Our crews are trained and instructed to separate all plastic products for processing,” he wrote, “then retain the disks onboard until they can be properly disposed of ashore.”
At least 40 of the large disks were seen on the beach late last week in Carova, an off-road beach community on the northernmost end of the Currituck Outer Banks Another half-dozen or so were also found in late April about 40 miles south in Kill Devil Hills.