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Where does the plastic in our oceans come from?

Li, W. C., Tse, H. F., & Fok, L. (2016). Plastic waste in the marine environment: A review of sources, occurrence and effects. Science of the Tota

  • Li, W. C., Tse, H. F., & Fok, L. (2016). Plastic waste in the marine environment: A review of sources, occurrence and effects. Science of the Total Environment, 566, 333-349.

    Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4666.

  • In certain locations, the share that comes from marine sources can be higher. For example, it’s estimated that plastic lines, ropes and fishing nets make up 52% of the plastic mass in the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ (GPGP).
    Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4666.

  • Li, W. C., Tse, H. F., & Fok, L. (2016). Plastic waste in the marine environment: A review of sources, occurrence and effects. Science of the Total Environment, 566, 333-349.

    Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4666.

  • In certain locations, the share that comes from marine sources can be higher. For example, it’s estimated that plastic lines, ropes and fishing nets make up 52% of the plastic mass in the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ (GPGP).
    Lebreton, L., Slat, B., Ferrari, F., Sainte-Rose, B., Aitken, J., Marthouse, R., … & Noble, K. (2018). Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic. Scientific Reports, 8(1), 4666.

  • Lebreton, L. C., Van der Zwet, J., Damsteeg, J. W., Slat, B., Andrady, A., & Reisser, J. (2017). River plastic emissions to the world’s oceans. Nature Communications, 8, 15611.

    Schmidt, C., Krauth, T., & Wagner, S. (2017). Export of plastic debris by rivers into the sea. Environmental Science & Technology, 51(21), 12246-12253.

  • Meijer, J.J.L, Emmerik, T., Ent, R., Schmidt, C., Lebreton, L. (2021). More than 1000 rivers account for 80% of global riverine plastic emissions into the ocean. Science Advances.

  • Lebreton, L. C., Van der Zwet, J., Damsteeg, J. W., Slat, B., Andrady, A., & Reisser, J. (2017). River plastic emissions to the world’s oceans. Nature Communications, 8, 15611.

  • Note that for individual rivers the confidence interval can be large, and estimates can vary from model predictions.

  • The Ciliwung River emitted between 205 and 308 tonnes per year. The Rhine emitted 3 to 5 tonnes per year.

  • Lebreton, L. C., Van der Zwet, J., Damsteeg, J. W., Slat, B., Andrady, A., & Reisser, J. (2017). River plastic emissions to the world’s oceans. Nature Communications, 8, 15611.

  • Jambeck, J. R., Geyer, R., Wilcox, C., Siegler, T. R., Perryman, M., Andrady, A., … & Law, K. L. (2015). Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean. Science, 347(6223), 768-771.

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