16 Jun 2022
16 Jun 2022
Status: this preprint is open for discussion.

Detecting most effective cleanup locations using network theory to reduce marine plastic debris: A case study in the Galapagos Marine Reserve

Stefanie Leonore Ypma1, Quinten Bohte1, Alexander Forryan2, Alberto C. Naveira Garabato2, Andy Donnelly3, and Erik van Sebille1 Stefanie Leonore Ypma et al.
  • 1Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Department of Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht 3584 CS, Netherlands
  • 2Ocean and Earth Science, University of Southampton, National Oceanography Centre, Southampton SO14 3ZH, UK
  • 3Galapagos Conservation Trust, 7-14 Great Dover Street, London, SE1 4YR, UK

Abstract. The Galapagos Marine Reserve was established in 1986 to ensure protection of the islands' unique biodiversity. Unfortunately, the islands are polluted by marine plastic debris and the island authorities face the challenge to effectively remove plastic from its shorelines due to limited resources. To optimise efforts, we have identified the most effective cleanup locations on the Galapagos Islands using network theory. A network is constructed from a Lagrangian simulation describing the flow of macroplastic between the various islands within the Galapagos Marine Reserve, where the nodes represent locations along the coastline and the edges the likelihood for plastic to travel from one location and beach at another. We have found four network centralities that provide the best coastline ranking to optimise the cleanup effort based on various impact metrics. In particular locations with a high retention rate are favourable for cleanup. The results indicate that using the most effective centrality for finding cleanup locations is a good strategy for heavily polluted regions if the distribution of marine plastic debris on the coastlines is unknown and limited cleanup resources are available.

Stefanie Leonore Ypma et al.

Status: open (until 11 Aug 2022)

Comment types: AC – author | RC – referee | CC – community | EC – editor | CEC – chief editor | : Report abuse
  • CC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-426', Noam Vogt-Vincent, 16 Jun 2022 reply
  • RC1: 'Comment on egusphere-2022-426', Anonymous Referee #1, 01 Jul 2022 reply

Stefanie Leonore Ypma et al.

Data sets

Data and code for analysis and figures Stefanie L. Ypma, Q. Bohte, E. van Sebille

Stefanie Leonore Ypma et al.


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Short summary
In this research we aim to improve cleanup efforts on the Galapagos Islands of marine plastic debris when resources are limited and the distribution of the plastic on shorelines is unknown. Using a network that describes the flow of macroplastic between the islands we have identified the most efficient cleanup locations, quantified the impact of targeting these locations and showed that shorelines where the plastic is unlikely to leave are likely efficient cleanup locations.