Natural Sciences >> Geology

Tons of Plastic in the Ocean

by Ashley Kuchta


Submitted : Fall 2019

This project reflects the amount of plastics in the earth’s oceans currently and in the future.  The goal of this project is to inform people of the actual amount of plastic pollution the earth and our oceans are facing today.  My goal is to enact change in people’s day to day lives and encourage them to look at their own plastic use more closely.   What I did was generate a formula to determine the amount of plastic that will be in the ocean by the year 2050.  To generate this formula, I used the current amount of plastic in the ocean and added in the rates in which plastic both enters the ocean and is cleaned up by three different organizations.  There are some things that were not taken into account for this equation including other clean-up organizations, the changing rate of which plastic enters the ocean, and the possible policy changes in the United States and the world regarding plastic pollution.  I left these things out to maintain simplicity of the equation.  In the end, I found that over four billion tons of plastic will be in the ocean by the year 2050.  This is a very concerning amount considering there is currently 269,000 tons in the ocean currently and scientist have already identified major issues in the ocean caused by this plastic pollution.  The effects that four billion tons of plastic will have on the ocean is terrifying.  More policy and public interest needs to be put into the problem of plastic pollution in order to prevent major changes to the planet.  Small changes in people’s day to day lives can make an impact, but major policy change is needed in order to solve the current and future issue of plastic pollution.   



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Advisors :
Arcadii Grinshpan, Mathematics and Statistics
Amy Gatenbee, Anthropology
Suggested By :
Ashley Kuchta