Trillions of pieces of plastic currently pollute the ocean, harming sea life, contaminating ecosystems and making a mess on beaches. It’s important to clean up the plastic in the ocean, but nobody knows how best to do so yet.
Some people suggest deploying giant plastic-removing devices to clean up the plastic mess. We set out to find where in the ocean would be the most effective places to put these devices. To do so, we made a computerized simulation of plastics entering the ocean, ocean currents, and hypothetical plastic-removing devices to take the litter out of the water. We found that if we take plastic out of the ocean very close to the shore, particularly off the coast of East Asia, it would remove the most plastic and be most beneficial for ocean creatures.