Marine Debris Indicators: What’s Next?

An IEEE OES event
16-18 December 2019 – Brest, FRANCE

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Background Material
IEEE OES Initiative
Cascais 2020 Workshop
Oceans 2019 Town Hall
Brest 2018 Workshop

Marine debris pose a mounting threat to life in the oceans and on land, including human life, and technologies to observe, measure and monitor the flow of debris into, and within, the oceans are urgently needed in support of mitigating the threat.

Modeling the Life Cycle of Plastic: From Marine Debris to the Source

Dan Martin, Kelly Jones, Dr. Hans-Peter Plag

Department of Ocean and Earth Sciences, Old Dominion University Mitigation and Adaptation Research Institute, Old Dominion University

The overuse of synthetic thermoplastics in modern society is an untenable practice and is severely damaging to the health of various ecosystems around the world and may have unforeseen impacts on the health of many organisms around the world, including humans. The goal of this project will be to use modeling to discover the origin of plastic marine debris by tracking it back to its source. This information will allow policymakers to better inform decisions on how to arrest the flow of plastic into the marine environment so that any efforts to remove the mass of plastic in the ocean will not be hampered by fluxes that outweigh removal efforts. By combining percentages of plastic produced by type with quantities of plastic produced, populations in coastal areas, properties of plastic such as density, geological maps of watersheds, and ocean circulation models, this project will be able to determine the ultimate sources of various sinks of marine plastic debris, and identify potential hot spots of plastic flux where policymakers will best be able to employ mitigation efforts.

Type of contribution: Poster.

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