Research Update: Modeling Explores Ocean Circulation of Plastic Pollution Through the Galápagos


As part of our Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos programme, GCT partner and Associate Professor at Utrecht University, Dr Erik van Sebille, has developed cutting-edge oceanography software to investigate the time scales and pathways of the global ocean circulation. Erik’s research uses particle trajectories along with current and wave simulations to predict how oceans transport plastic litter travels and provides essential evidence needed when looking for the origins of pollution.

The research found that the majority of plastic coming from mainland South America is likely to only come from a narrow area of coastal Southern Ecuador and Northern Peru. However, there’s a strong indication that significant quantities of plastic pollution reaching Galapagos shores originate from international fishing fleets outside the Galapagos Marine Reserve, on the edge of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) raising questions about waste management practice on these industrial fleets.

Find out more about our Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos programme at

Source: @galapagosconservationtrust


Informing and sharing news on marine life, flora, fauna and conservation in the Galápagos Islands since 2017
© SOS Galápagos, 2021


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