Global Plastic Watch is a digital platform featuring an interactive map that provides access to information intended to help associations, NGOs and governments in the fight against plastic pollution. This tool allows actors in the domain to identify areas of plastic pollution around the world through the use of satellite images and artificial intelligence.
Taking a few (giant) steps back in order to accelerate and optimize the fight against plastic pollution. This is the idea behind the Global Plastic Watch (GPW) Global Plastic Watch (GPW) platform, which maps areas of the world "in near real-time." Using satellite data from the European Space Agency, the interactive map is able to identify all kinds of areas where plastic pollution is spreading.
In a few clicks, it's possible to map out China where 415 sites are listed or India where 690 sites polluted with plastic appear, indicated by yellow markers on the map.
Upon closer look, the number of square meters or the proximity to bodies of water provide more precise indications of the locations. A timeline allows users to visualize changes from year to year. It's possible to make out a clean-up in an area like Pakur in the state of Jharkhand in India for example. The land-based plastic pollution represented more than 35,000 square meters in April 2016, while in June 2020, the GPW recorded only 5,000 square meters.
Southeast Asia is one of the most documented parts of the world. When eyes turn to Europe, for example, only Albania or Turkey are referenced. "So far, we have detected and confirmed 2,802 sites in 25 countries using the Global Plastic Watch tool. They include all of South-East Asia, Australia and the top 20 countries in annual plastic leakage into the oceans, according to the scientific publication 'Science Advances'," the Minderoo Foundation, which created the interactive GPW map, explains on its website.
All this information is essential in the fight against plastic pollution. By identifying sites, the platform helps governments, NGOs and associations in enforcing laws, cleaning up polluted areas, and making progress in waste management and recycling.
"We incubate innovations to reduce recycling costs, create alternatives to plastic and recover plastic that is already polluting our environment -- particularly the ocean. Our aim is to enable businesses, governments, and consumers to take effective actions that end plastic pollution in a generation," outlines the Minderoo foundation.