United Nations
Land-based Plastics to the Ocean
by Commonwealth Science and Industry Research Organization (CSIRO) (Government)
CSIRO has developed protocols, analytical tools, and has carried out coastal, terrestrial and ocean-based surveys for anthropogenic debris in Australia at a national scale and in several other countries. The goal of this work is to use field sampling and mathematical modelling to document the distribution of plastic in the ocean, on the coast and in the nearshore environment generated by 6-8 major urban centers and surrounding areas that have been identified as having significant waste mis-management or losses into the marine environment. This will allow for empirical validation of waste losses as projected by a recent global estimate of plastic losses into the worlds oceans (Jambeck et al. 2015). This project builds capacity in developing countries, provides an empirical baseline for waste mismanagement, increases awareness, inspires change and transforms the global conversation around plastic usage and the environment. Innovative opportunities for waste management will be identified and potentially trialed and valuing plastics can help reduce poverty and identify alternative livelihoods. The results of the study will provide a solid empirical basis for modelling the input of plastic into the oceans from land at the global scale. The results will also serve as an international baseline against which progress can be gauged through time and space. The data will also provide opportunities to identify opportunities to engage with industry regarding best-practices and product identification for major brands which are frequently lost into the environment
Progress reports
By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution
Type of commitment
By 2020, sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems to avoid significant adverse impacts, including by strengthening their resilience, and take action for their restoration in order to achieve healthy and productive oceans
Type of commitment
Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries
Type of commitment
Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want
Type of commitment
December 2020
We will estimate the amount of plastic contained in upstream, coastal and urban plumes, and the loss from the plume, both into the open ocean and via transport onto the coastline for each of the six or more selected cities from different countries (and from areas away from cities), using oceanographic models of plastic transport.
Financing (in USD)
1,200,000 USD
In-kind contribution
Scientific research
Basic information
Time-frame: 2017 January - 2020 December
CSIRO -(Government research body), Oak Philanthropy (Philanthropic organization), Schmidt Marine (Philanthropic Organization), Our Seas of East Asia Network (non-governmental organization),
Ocean Basins
  • Global
Beneficiary countries
Other beneficaries
Contact information
Britta Denise Hardesty, Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, denise.hardesty@csiro.au, +61 3 6232 5276
Other SDGs
United Nations