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Plastic pollution in the world's oceans: Interactive map reveals where 5.25 TRILLION pieces of waste end up

 

+ Map visualises the estimated concentration of floating plastic waste in the world's oceans + Densities of plastic are shown as white dots around the map, each of which represents 20 kilograms (44lbs) + Eight million tonnes of plastic is dumped into our oceans every year, endangering marine and human life + The map was created to underline the issue of plastic pollution and encourage people to take action

Plastic pollution in the world's oceans: Interactive map reveals where 5.25 TRILLION pieces of waste end up
Plastic pollution in the world's oceans: Interactive map reveals where 5.25 TRILLION pieces of waste end up

In the Sailing Seas of Plastic map, graphic designers at New Zealand-based data firm Dumpark visualised the estimated concentration of floating plastic debris in the world's oceans.


When zoomed out, the map seems to show that plastics in the ocean are large floating landfills, 'but as you zoom in you realise the complexity of the issue: The ocean is quite a vast surface, and similar to a starry night, there are a lot of little bright dots,' said map researcher Mr Laurent Lebreton.

The graphic reveals that the North Pacific Ocean suffers the most from plastic pollution, with an estimated 2 trillion individual pieces adrift in its waters.

This works out at around 87 million kilograms (193 million lbs) of waste in total, nearly one third of plastic pollution in all oceans.

Much of this waste is focused around China and Japan, tracing the North Pacific gyre, one of Earth's five major gyres, which are powerful circular ocean current systems caused by wind patterns and the rotation of the Earth.

The map shows that the Indian Ocean is a hot spot for global plastic pollution, with 1.3 trillion pieces of floating plastic.

Previous research has shown that as much as 60 per cent of the world's plastic waste comes from just five countries: China, Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam, and Thailand.

This is likely the reason the North Pacific and Indian Oceans are so heavily polluted, as gyres carry waste outwards from the coasts of these nations.

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