Plastic Tracker — See how and where plastic ends up in the ocean

Hi all,

My name is Boyan Slat, Founder and CEO of The Ocean Cleanup. Our mission is to develop advanced technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic. To do so, we need to thoroughly understand the problem of plastic pollution.

Since The Ocean Cleanup was founded in 2013, our developments have gone hand in hand with research. We’ve done numerous expeditions, field research, and computer models to visualize the problem for ourselves but also for the wider scientific community and the general public.

We are happy to share a new tool with you today! Our computational modeler @axel_pe has developed an interactive map that helps visualize a possible path that buoyant plastic can have when dropped in the environment. Just because it’s out of sight does not mean it needs to be out of mind. And by visualizing the path of one single piece of plastic, your potential impact becomes clearer. Every piece counts, and no matter its final destination in the environment, it would still be polluting for decades to come.

Try the map like this:

Go to
Enter your location and press “Draw Trajectory.”
Allow the data to be fetched and watch the journey unfold
Once the route is calculated, you can see what likelihood it has to end up in the ocean (low, medium, high) and how many kilometers it will have traveled.
Try the same trajectory again to see another possible journey, or try another starting location.
Feel free to offer us feedback or share your thoughts in the comments below!

Background on ocean plastic pollution:

Every year, millions of tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans. Some of this plastic travels all the way to the “gyres” or “garbage patches” – accumulation zones in the middle of the ocean where currents converge. The largest patch (in terms of plastic content) is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and is located halfway between Hawaii and California (the five gyres can be seen on the map). If left to circulate, this plastic will slowly break down into microplastic, becoming increasingly harder to clean up and more dangerous. Plastic pollution has a detrimental impact on the environment, human health, and economies. The Ocean Cleanups developing cleanup technologies to both clean up the plastics already accumulated out there, and the plastic en route through rivers.

– Boyan Slat




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