Modeling marine surface microplastic transport to assess optimal removal locations

Marine plastic pollution is an ever-increasing problem that demands immediate mitigation and reduction plans. Here, a model based on satellite-tracked buoy observations and scaled to a large data set of observations on microplastic from surface trawls was used to simulate the transport of plastics floating on the ocean surface from 2015 to 2025, with the goal to assess the optimal marine microplastic removal locations for two scenarios: removing the most surface microplastic and reducing the impact on ecosystems, using plankton growth as a proxy. The simulations show that the optimal removal locations are primarily located off the coast of China and in the Indonesian Archipelago for both scenarios.

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