Originating mostly from plastic material such as bottles and bags, microplastics can be found in nearly every part of our environment—oceans, rivers, estuaries, beaches, sea ice, sediments, and more. Most microplastics start their journey on land and are carried by rivers and wind to the ocean, where they are caught in the global ocean circulation system. Once microplastics are in the ocean, they accumulate in the food chain and pose a fatal threat to fish and other marine organisms that ingest them. 

NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) has released the first-of-its-kind global microplastics database.
This database collates microplastic data from across the globe, giving scientists and researchers a better understanding of microplastic’s impacts on human and marine health and the economy. The database is a one-stop repository with all types of marine microplastics information that is aggregated, archived, and delivered in a consistent and reliable manner. These data have been provided by contributors from various research cruises and fieldwork around the globe. The microplastic database, along with other applicable datasets currently archived at NCEI such as ocean currents, will help create a unified understanding of the global microplastic problem.

The Marine Microplastics Database map highlights the global distribution of data submitted from contributors around the globe.
The Marine Microplastics Database map highlights the global distribution of data submitted from contributors around the globe.

The microplastics database would not be possible without the help of data contributors. If you wish to submit your own microplastic data to the archive, please contact NCEI at ncei.info@noaa.gov. You can find more information on submitting data at: https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/archive.