“Plastic Profusion” graphic sources

The data visualization accompanying the feature story “Some hungry fish are eating plastic—here’s why that matters” in the May 2019 issue of National Geographic shows observation data from microplastics studies around the world. Some values were published in peer-reviewed research, and other values were updated directly by experts in the field. Data from different studies may not be directly comparable because their collection methods varied. Conversions to “microplastic pieces per gallon of seawater or sediment” were made with expert oversight.

North Pacific
0.047 pieces/L
Source: Laurent Lebreton, The Ocean Cleanup Foundation
Related Study: Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic

North Atlantic
105 pieces/m3
Source: Kara Lavender Law, Sea Education Association
Unpublished figure reported directly

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