Click on a map location to see how many pieces of plastic we found in each sample:
Microplastics—or plastic particles smaller than five millimeters in size—likely pose a significant environmental and human health risk when they enter our waterways.
Pollutants including pesticides and manufacturing chemicals can adhere to the particles and then bioaccumulate in aquatic life. Microplastics have been shown to affect feeding behavior and predator avoidance and to interact with other pollutants to affect cell function in fish. They’re also able to move from the digestive tract of organisms into the bloodstream.
Microplastics have several sources: They're laundered from nylon clothing; they wash down the drain with many cosmetics and toothpastes; and they weather from debris like bottles and bags.
Adventure Scientists has found microplastics in the vast majority of marine samples we've collected, from places including Maine, Alaska, Argentina, Thailand and Antarctica. In 2015 we expanded our research to freshwater to further identify the inputs of this pollution.
Our goal is to compile a comprehensive microplastics dataset and use that information to effect change, turning off the inputs of microplastics pollution at their source. We are no longer accepting volunteers for this project.