CAROVA BEACH, N.C. (AP/WAVY) — The U.S. Navy is investigating after compacted trash disks similar to those made on its ships washed up on beaches on North Carolina’s Outer Banks.
Kill Devil Hills resident Heather Cremia told CBS North Carolina’s Hampton Roads, Virginia sister station WAVY that she has collected 17 disks.
“I want answers. I want to know why this happened, how they got away with it and how long this has been going on and I want it to end,” Cremia said.
Cremia says she found the first disk in Kill Devil Hills on April 27, and her friend found several other disks while working in Carova on Mother’s Day.
Describing how she felt, Cremia said she felt, “Disgusted. Upset.”
“I pick up trash on the beach almost every day, but this is absurd. It’s really upsetting to me,” she said. “Who knows how many are out there. How many more are floating in our oceans?”
Ted Brown, with the Navy’s Fleet Forces Command, said the disks appear to be similar to those made on Navy ships to compress plastic waste for easy storage until a ship reaches port. Brown said ships are prohibited from dumping plastic into the ocean under Navy policy and environmental regulations.
Brown told Cummings by phone, “I wouldn’t want to speculate on how something like this could happen.”
Of the typical process he explained, “The plastic is separated, put into a plastics processor and the disks are stored on board until we can safely dispose of them on shore.”
Brown said the Navy first learned this week about the disks washing up on shore. Now, they are investigating what ships may have been in the area.
The Navy is planning to send a message to operating units reminding them of the plastic disposal policy, Brown said.
Cremia also showed WAVY a white drum which she said also came from the beach.
“They’re washing up on the same exact beaches with the disk with bullet holes in them,” she said.
Brown said the Navy will also investigate their origin.
“I am not familiar with that being on ships that I have been on. That is something we will certainly take a look at,” he said.
A crew is expected to travel from Norfolk to North Carolina this week to collect the disks and at least one drum.