Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Your Plastic's Journey to the Sea

Yesterday Ocean Cleanup released a new interactive map which allows you to track the journey that your plastic waste is likely to take from your hand to the ocean. Enter your location into the Plastic Tracker map and it will calculate the chances of a piece of plastic abandoned to the environment at that address reaching the ocean and also map the journey that the plastic would likely take.

The Plastic Tracker map plots the journey that a single piece of plastic is likely to take from the moment it is discarded. It shows the possible route that the plastic would take to reach the sea based on data such as river flow, river mouth emissions and ocean currents. 

The Plastic Tracker is just one of a series of interactive mapping tools developed by Ocean Cleanup in order to help raise awareness of the problems of plastic waste and to help clean up the plastic in our oceans.

The Price Tag of Plastic Pollution is another of Ocean Cleanup's interactive mapping tools. This map shows the economic costs of all the plastic pollution which we are currently spilling into the world's oceans. It shows the need for governments & individuals to address plastic pollution by highlighting the economic costs of plastic pollution on industries such as fishing and tourism.

Ocean Cleanup worked with the auditing company Deloitte to assess the costs of plastic pollution to countries around the world. According to this study the total global yearly economic costs from marine plastic are between $6-19bn. These costs accrue from the impact of pollution on tourism & on the fishing industry and from efforts to clean and clear plastic pollution. 

If you click on a country on the Plastic Pollution world map you can view the costs to the government and to the fishing and tourism industries in the selected country. One of the main purposes of the Price Tag of Plastic Pollution map is to demonstrate that it is far cheaper not to pollute our oceans with plastic in the first place than it is to clean them after they have been polluted. 

Around 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the world's oceans every single year. This plastic is dangerous to marine life and, once it enters the food chain, ultimately dangerous to the health of the human race.

The Ocean Cleanup organization believes that between 1.15 and 2.41 million metric tons of the plastic in the oceans originates from the world's river systems. Two thirds of it from the rivers of Asia. The River Plastic Emissions to the World’s Oceans interactive map helps to visualize how and where that plastic ends up in the world's oceans.

The map shows river systems around the globe. The predicted input from each river system is shown at the coast using scaled circular markers. These predicted inputs are based on a model which looks at population density, waste management, topography, hydrography, the locations of dams and the reported concentration of plastic in rivers around the world.

You might also be interested in the Maps Mania post Seas of Plastic Debris.

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