• Student's Research Project Garners
    National & International Attention

  • Student along River

    Most eighth graders hope their science project stand out, but imagine the surprise when a national science agency takes notice.  That is just what Pine-Richland Middle School eighth grader Eve Mango is experiencing.  She is tracking a drifting buoy to gauge how far local plastic pollution can travel and impact global waters. She launched a drifting buoy from the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers in Pittsburgh on January 11, 2017. The buoy will simulate floating plastic waste in waterways.

    “My research shows that storm water runoff and shore-based pollution are two major sources of plastic waste in the ocean,” said Mango.  “Although Pennsylvania is a land-locked state, it is possible for the buoy to make its way to the Mississippi River and perhaps even the Gulf of Mexico,” she explained. “I have researched models of how ocean waste travels from the shore and around the globe but I could not find models of river waste reaching the ocean.”

    The young scientist is planning to do more than just track the possible path of plastic pollutants. She is hoping to engineer a solution to reduce the amount of plastic waste that flows from small bodies of water into the oceans.  Her research received some important attention by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  NOAA has featured her project on its site about national environmental satellite data, information and service site at www.noaasis.noaa.gov.  The agency works to understand and predict changes in climate, weather, oceans and coasts as well as conserve and manage coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.

    CLS America, the satellite service company for the ARGOS satellite project, graciously provide free satellite service for Eve and connected her with a business in Japan, who donated the $1,800 drifting buoy as well. The Argos Data Collection and location System is a data collection and relay program that provides global coverage and platform location. 

    Ultimately, her project is being entered in the the Covestro Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair. The science and engineering fair is celebrating its 78th year of open competition of research projects in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering on March 31-April 1, 2017 at Heinz Field. This competition is open to all students in grades 6-12. The Science is also the third oldest science fair in the United States under the affiliation of Society for Science and the Public, which facilitates the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. 

  • Update #1

    Posted by Eve Mango on 2/16/2017 3:00:00 PM

    The buoy is currently stuck at a lock and dam near Wheeling, West Virginia.  I am hoping it flows over the dam soon, considering it has already been through 5 locks and dams.  More updates to come!

    Comments (-1)
  • Introduction

    Posted by Eve Mango on 2/10/2017

    Hi my name is Eve Mango and I am an eighth grader at Pine Richland Middle School.  I am researching the path that floating plastic waste travels in stormwater runoff, rivers, and eventually the ocean.  I will collect this data and also engineer a device to put into small creeks and streams near Pittsburgh to collect floating plastic waste before it enters larger bodies of water.  In March, I will submit my project into the 2017 Pittsburgh Regional Science and Engineering Fair. 

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