An interactive analysis of 60 years of plastic in the ocean...

An interactive analysis of 60 years of plastic in the ocean...

Recently, a study was published on that analyzed the rise in ocean plastics in the Northern Atlantic over the last 60 years. This study took data from 1957 to 2016 from a towed marine sampler called the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) over 6.5 million nautical miles. With three beautiful sources of data provided at the end of the article, we created our own data visualizations to take a look at the rise in ocean plastics over 60 years.

From this first visualization; "Macroplastic Entanglements in the Northern Atlantic", we could see that:

  • Fishing equipment makes up 73% of macroplastic pollution captured by the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR)
  • 70% of that macroplastic pollution was recorded in the Greater North Sea (hold control while clicking on both regions, then select "Apply Multi-Select Filter")
  • Overall, the Greater North Sea made up 67% of all macroplastic pollution captured by the CPR, with an increasing concentration from 1994 to 2016

Make sure to click around on different data points, the dashboard filters all the other views based on your selections!


The second analysis looked over the non-macroplastic entanglements that occurred over the years. Feel free to explore this analysis as well!


While these visualizations are a shallow look into the study as a whole, they can still provide some interesting insights into trends in plastic pollution. We strongly encourage you to check out the study itself, as it goes further into depth regarding frequency of incidents and normalization of the results. This provides a truer statistical view of the data collected. Link to study again.

The approximate time it took to make each of these visualizations was 1.5 hours. offers many easy-order services, including data visualizations like these. Click here to check out what data visualization services we offer.


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