Various Data – Microplastics and Waterways

Topic Key

Biological Consequences

Marine Debris Concepts


Sources of Marine Debris

Strategies for Mitigation

Global Microplastics Initiative

Source: Adventure Scientists

"After four years of collecting water samples, we are confident that our dataset represents the most diverse and one of the largest datasets exposing the extent of microplastic pollution around the globe. With this in hand, we have transitioned to data analysis as we seek a deeper understanding of microplastic pollution, and importantly, how our work can contribute to positive change."

Microplastics in our Waterways

Source: USGS

"Microplastics are the minuscule plastic fragments (smaller than 0.04 inch) that fall off of decomposing plastic bottles and bags, and are intentionally manufactured into some toothpastes and lotions. Scientists have found microplastics nearly everywhere, particularly in lakes, rivers, and aquatic animals." This resource focuses mainly on microplastics found in freshwater in rivers and streams across the United States.

Microplastic Sampling Map

Source: Mississippi State University

The map below is the result of a U.S. Gulf-wide microplastic sampling project. The Gulf of Mexico Alliance Gulf Star Program provided funding for this citizen science project. Citizen scientists collected and counted microplastics in sediment and water samples across the US Gulf coast. The numbers of microplastics displayed are from 1-liter water samples and 0.25 square meter sediment samples.

Our World In Data: Plastic Pollution

Source: Global Change Data Lab

This resource provides data (including charts) on a variety of plastic pollution topics, such as "cumulative global plastics production, decomposition rates of marine debris items, plastic waste generated by coastal populations, surface plastic particles by ocean basin," and much more.