We’re on big screens now (1280x720+), and planning our mobile version next!
Finalist of the National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures
Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge (OPIC)
Since you visited our website,
there were 0000000000 kilograms
of plastic put into the ocean.
The amount of plastic waste
Imagine you live 15 minutes away from this picturesque beach, just a 9 kilometer trip. You can park nearby and walk less than 2 minutes to the sea. This highly protected reserve has a coastal strip with beautiful bays and inlets. Every day the reserve is cleaned of debris that has washed ashore, and from
neglected rubbish left by visitors. It is almost entirely plastic waste. But even in such a protected and special nature reserve, when it is clear that plastic pollution does not bode well for our environment, we seem to misunderstand the true magnitude of how it affects us all - here, or in any other place on our earth. We believe there is a way to translate the issue of ocean plastic to everyone, to increase awareness, to be actively engaged, and even
to be fit! We invite you to a journey of our own mismanaged plastic waste. So how long will it take? Let’s start. This is just the begining.
91% of which are not recycled. About 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in our world's oceans every year, yet we keep consuming and heavily polluting our nearby and remote beaches. But, what if our beach access, a universal right, and everyone’s enjoyment,
depended on our plastic waste management? Mismanaged waste is material at high danger of entering the ocean through wind or tidal transport, or being transported from inland rivers to coastlines. It is the sum of material which is either littered or inadequately disposed. Plastic Pollution Let’s picture a world centered around a new eco rule, that the right to easily enjoy beach access derives from our plastic waste management.
Just imagine if your plastic waste was equal to the distance that you have to walk to reach the ocean. Let’s illustrate it: sandy beach for the amount of plastic waste, and beyond lies the ocean. The more plastic you feed the ocean, the farther you walk to the sea. We would like to show you now the amount of mismanaged plastic waste that is generated by each person in a single year, in 50 coastal countries. Are you ready to walk it?
A point of
will it take
us to walk
You are here to get a bit more info, so
let’s unpack it:
There are 50 bars in our visualization, representing 50 coastal countries bordering 4 oceans (the Mediterrain is technically a sea, we know!). The bars have the appearance of a beach for the amount of plastic waste, and beyond lies a beautiful ocean. Hover a bar to expand it, and see the amount of plastic waste produced by each person in a single year. That amount is translated to a walking distance and time.
And while you are exploring the countries cards, tap the plastic bottle on the top right to switch between states, and see the amount of plastic waste entering the ocean from that country each minute. Each bottle represents 100kg of plastic waste entering the ocean. So, ready to walk?
Hmm… I have more questions.
Sandy beach for the amount of plastic waste, and beyond lies the ocean. The more plastic you feed the ocean, the farther you walk to the sea.
You are here to get a bit more info, so
let’s unpack it:
Our 4 oceans represent 192 countries.
We present the daily amount of mismanaged plastic waste entering the oceans. We start with the most and least polluting countries in each ocean, and end with the total average of all bordering countries.
The more sand the more mismanaged plastic waste. The streaming bottles each represent 1 tonne of plastic waste entering into the ocean.
Want to know more?
We dump 8 - 12 million metric tons of plastic into our oceans annually.
Our oceans need us as much as we need them!
The less ‘sandy brown’
color, the less mismanaged
plastic waste streams to
our oceans environment.
try to refuse
for the next
Let’s become more conscious of the massive amounts of plastic packaging we
are all consuming.
so-how-long would like to bring information visualization into our consuming routine, so we must confront our own choices while we shop. Who would be
the first to adopt this design?
‘So, how long will it take’ (full name) is an interactive journey of our very own mismanaged plastic waste as the length we have to walk to reach the ocean. It is a physical metaphor for how plastic pollution is distancing the ocean from us. The project aims to help humanize the issue of ocean plastic, by not only encouraging awareness, but also engagement with the environment. A physical engagement!
We invite you to get engaged and embark with us on this eco-walk journey. You can plan your next walk, run, or ride route, and complete any country plastic waste distance. We also would like to expose all to the ongoing discussions on social media surrounding this issue, and get to know what people in their own regions are saying about ocean plastic. You probably have a lot of questions, here are a few to get this journey started:
One of us lives near that picturesque beach we showed you at the start, and the idea was born simply in an afternoon ride to it, thinking how to create visual feedback that would motivate us to take action and protect our seas and oceans. Even though this reserve area is fairly clean, and most of us recycle, it is simply not enough to solve our waste crisis. We asked ourselves how could we appeal to a large and diverse population, and how could we increase participation to help improve reduce plastic production, reduce plastic use, and increase reuse and recycling. There is a study by researchers from Penn State University and Boston College that shows that consumers recycle more when they think about how their waste can be transformed into new products. We came with the idea to transform our waste to a physical metaphor for how plastic pollution is distancing the ocean from us. We would like to take you on a journey that will transform ocean plastic pollution from a nebulous issue that exists somewhere in the world, to a tangible crisis that is happening in your own backyards.
There are two reasons your country might not be listed. Firstly, the original dataset excludes landlocked countries because the mismanaged plastic per person model incorporates coastal population. Secondly, for visual clarity we selected 50 countries from the original dataset that represented different regions and pollution levels. But if your country was not one of the 50 selected, it can be seen on the map, which shows all data from the original dataset.
On average, a 500 milligram plastic water bottle measures 20 centimeters in height, and 10 grams in weight (when it is empty). Thus 1 kilogram of plastic waste is equal to 100 bottles multiplied 20 centimeters. Walking time is calculated assuming an average walking speed of 5 kilometers per hour. For example, 2Kg would be a 40Km distance, at about 8 hours walking time.
The timing for bottles representing the amount of plastic entering the ocean from each country was calculated from the total tonnes of mismanaged plastic per year for each country. Based on the amount of plastic per year, we calculated the time it would take for 100kg of plastic to accumulate from that country and show a bottle appearing at each time interval to represent the 100kgs of plastic.
The data is derived from a scientific paper published in 2014 by Jenna Jambeck, a world authority on ocean plastic pollution.
Citation: Jambeck, Jenna R., et al. "Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean." Science 347.6223 (2015): 768-771.
We encourage you to get engaged and embark with us on this eco-walk journey, to get physically active! You can plan your next walk, run, or ride route, and complete yours or another countries plastic-waste-distance. Post it on Twitter and Instagram with the #so_how_long and share all other activities as well! Talk to your friends and neighbours. Ask them what they think about the ocean plastic problem. Tell them what you’ve learned here, and encourage them to get more involved and think about how plastic affects their own lives.
Solving the plastic crisis will require broad support and active demands to governments, corporations, and stakeholders. A majority of plastic pollution comes from lower income countries, where many people do not have the economic freedom to buy in bulk or choose plastic-free options. People use what they can afford, and it is time that corporations invest in better plastic-free packaging for affordable and accessible products. We must demand that plastic producers take responsibility for the lifecycle of their products. We all have to pitch in if we are to solve the plastic crisis, and it is time that plastic producers own up and do their part.
Lobby your government to implement policies at a national level to combat ocean plastic pollution. Any ocean plastic solution will require governmental support. Vote for politicians who prioritize environmental issues and support laws to maintain clean waterways. Run for local office with a promise to fight plastic pollution at every step of the waste lifecycle. Call your local government official and ask them what they are doing to combat plastic pollution. With strength in numbers, change is possible.
we are an
We have teamed up
for The National
Geographic and Sky
Ocean Ventures’ Ocean
Challenge, and have
been selected as one of
the 24 finalists. We hope
so-how-long will inspire
you to be physically
active in changing our
we’d love to hear from you.
The best way to get in touch with us, and to follow our updates: here. We’d be happy to reply as fast as we can. * We love coffee and to be invited to talk!You can also say ‘hi’ and share whatever you like,