Where does YOUR plastic go? - Earth Day 2024

Earth Day is only a week away. The global theme for Earth Day 2024 is Planet vs Plastics.
Did you know that...
  • a great deal of discarded plastic end up in rivers and then in one of our oceans? Lightweight plastic packaging and bags are easily carried away by the wind, even from landfills. Meanwhile, it breaks down into tiny toxic particles that contaminate the soil and waterways. (source)
  • plastic microfibres are released into waterways when we wash our clothes in the washing machine? Microplastics in different forms are present in almost all water systems in the world, be they streams, rivers, lakes, or oceans. There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way. (source)
  • there is still hope? According to a 2020 study conducted by PEW Trusts, annual flows of plastic into the ocean could be reduced by 80% by 2040 through the application of existing approaches to reduce our consumption of single-use plastics and the adoption of eco-friendly alternatives. (source)

And do you know where YOUR plastic goes?

With the help of our ocean drainage basin maps you can trace your nearest river's flow down into the ocean.

Click the map below to see it in ultra high resolution.
(It might take a few seconds for the image to fully load.)

Our maps have already helped many times to raise awareness about the urgent issue of plastic pollution. In 2022 they became a part of the impressive travelling exhibition "Plasticized Oceans and Seas" that you can also visit online.
Our colourful river basin map of the world is used in the river cleaning and restoration initiative called Adopt-A-River Initiative organized by the UN Environmental Programme and Rotary International.
The collaboration with Puzzelize supports the work of Hennops Revival, a river cleaning non-profit in South Africa that has already removed over 4 500 000 kg (close to 10 000 000 pounds) of waste and debris from the Hennops River.
If you want to see more examples of how our maps have helped raise awareness about important environmental issues in the last seven years, an extended list of our collaborations can be found here.
Take a quiz on EarthDay.com to see how much you know about plastics (might be less than you think!). Read the Action Toolkit to be inspired and to learn more about plastic pollution.

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