Plastic Pollution in the Ocean

Throughout the semester looking for data, the one that I felt most connected to was the one I found on Plastic Pollution in the Ocean. I wanted to focus on this because it is an important environmental issue, that is largely humanity’s fault. Humanity consumes an excessive amount of plastic, and many times don’t think about what happens to it or how it can harm the environment. Plastic waste is seen in many places including the ocean. Everyone loves to go to the beach and is full of people, especially in the summertime. The website that I found was Our World in Data and there was a lot of data information on Platic Pollution. The article that I used was Plastic Pollution by Hannah Ritchie and Max Roser, they had many data charts and information that was helpful.

In class, the Professor said to think about a specific artist or a cultural tradition that uses visual data. The cultural tradition that I thought was a Quincenera, it was an important day for the Mexican culture. I recall mine and many other family members Quinceanera. All were similar and each component of it was a form of visual data. For example, there is a part where they show a slide show of the birthday girl from when she was a baby to her most current age. Another is the dances, there is one of when she was young, one with her chambelanes, a father-daughter, and even a surprise dance. There is also the part where she gets her last doll, her crown, trades her childlike shoes for heels and any other gifts signifying her becoming a woman. To have a symbol for this day, the most memorable part of it is the dress, which is what I wanted to create a dress for my final.

Although there isn’t a clear connection between the data on Plastic Pollution and the Quinceanera dress I still wanted to create a data visualization with them. At first, I was going to find a real dress and make the hem a data chart from the article. I decided to change my idea since it was more difficult than I assumed it would be. I found these materials and was able to make the skirt of a quinceanera dress. I picked a graph that I found most interesting and made it part of the design. The graph is called “Surface plastic mass by ocean basin, 2013” (Ritchie and Roser, 2018).

Starting from the top, the first bar is the Global Ocean with 268,950 tonnes of plastic waste floating, the second bar is the North Pacific with 96,400 tonnes of plastic waste floating, the third is Indian Ocean with 59,130 tonnes of plastic waste floating, the fourth is the North Atlantic with 56,470 tonnes, next is Mediterranean Sea 23,150 tonnes and lastly is the South Pacific with 21,020 tonnes.


Ritchie, Hannah, and Max Roser. “Plastic Pollution.” Our World in Data, 10, Dec, 2019,