Sea front with plastic litter

Plastics are a major source of global marine pollution. Large pieces can entangle marine animals, while tiny pieces – broken down by the action of water and the sun – cause harm by entering the marine food chain. Furthermore, once plastic particles reach the marine environment, wind and global ocean currents spread them around the world. As a result, plastics are dispersed across all oceans, and can be found in remote locations such as the Arctic, Southern Ocean and deep oceans.

Ocean plastic pollution is an alarming issue due to its persistence, complexity, steady growth and the pervasive impacts it has on all aspects of ecosystems. Here at the Grantham Institute, we study the sources, impact and solutions to plastic in the ocean, drawing on our world-renowned expertise in engineering, physics and chemistry.

Our work

Beach littered with plastic

Publication: The ocean plastics pollution challenge

This briefing paper considers the ocean plastic pollution challenge, current legislation, solutions from a UK perspective, and what actions are needed now. Read more

Prince Albert II of Monaco delivering the Grantham Annual Lecture

Grantham Annual Lecture: Prince Albert II of Monaco

His Serene Highness highlighted the challenges and opportunities for preserving the ocean, emphasising that the ‘blue economy’ must be a priority. Read more

Interface of Plastic Adrift tool, showing a graphic of the ocean

Data visualisation: Plastic Adrift

Where does plastic end up years after entering the ocean? Drop some virtual plastic into the ocean to watch its journey. Read more

Dr Erik van Sebille explains the global plastic pollution problem, and what we can do to solve it.

Academic publications

Academic publications