Welcome to your first plastinography lesson

You have probably heard there's lots of plastic in the ocean. But how does it get there? Why is it bad? And what can you do? In six lessons, we'll take you through the basics of plastics in the ocean: plastinography.

Let's take a look at where the plastic problem starts. Close this screen and start exploring by clicking on the circles.

Once you've clicked on all the circles, go to the next lesson. Or use the navigation button in the top left to move through all the lessons.

It is thought that most of the plastic that ends up in the ocean comes from the land. Some of that comes from beaches, where people leave their rubbish after a day in the sun. The waves and the tide can then take the rubbish and sweep it into the ocean.

Source: Coastal Care

A small fraction of the plastic waste from land comes directly from factories, often the ones where the plastic is made. Many factories are located near coastlines so that ships can come and go easily. While most factories do their best to not pollute at all, accidents sometimes happen and the waste that escapes from the factories makes an easy and very short journey to the ocean.

Source: Flux Magazine

Some of the plastic floating around in the ocean comes from boats and ships at sea. During extreme storms at sea, containers on large shipping vessels can fall overboard and their content can spill straight into the ocean. In 1992 a container filled with thousands of plastic rubber ducks was lost at sea in a very heavy storm. The plastic toys are still being found along the coastlines today.

Most of the plastic usually reaches the ocean via stormwater drains. Rubbish that is thrown onto the street washes into the drains when it rains. The rain and rubbish travels through the drains and ends up in the ocean.

Congratulations! But this is just the beginning..

Now you've finished all six lessons of plastinography, what's next?

Go out and let others know about plastics in our ocean. Perhaps share this with your friends on Facebook?

If you want to find out more, please contact us

plastinography.org was created by Dr Erik van Sebille, Jennifer Halstead and Chloe Vandervord at UNSW Australia. Artwork by Social Growth. Support for this site is provided by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science and the NeCTAR Research Cloud.