There is so much plastic in the world today that some of it mixes into the atmosphere and then plummets back to earth in rainfall.
Now Australian Philanthropic organization Minderoo Foundation and M&C Saatchi Australia have teamed to measure plastic in rain to create a new weather metric. It purports to tell us how much plastic will fall from the sky on any given day.
The partners are unveiling the new metric in Paris ahead of next week’s
second session of negotiations (INC-2) of the UN’s Plastic Treaty at UNESCO headquarters.
The Plastic Forecast, developed with the help of scientists at Minderoo Foundation, combines research on atmospheric plastic with daily weather forecasts to estimate the daily ‘plastic fall’ in an easy-to-understand weather report for Paris.
The science to create the metric was developed by supporting partner,
Collider, which created a suite of 3D plastic clouds that react to the live weather data.
Dr. Tony Worby, Director of the Planet Portfolio at Minderoo Foundation, describes The Plastic Forecast as a watershed moment in environmental health.
"Because many plastic particles are so tiny, you cannot always see the plastic waste and pollution that plague this planet,” said Worby. “The Plastic Forecast highlights this fact … We believe this will be a powerful tool moving forward to generate widespread public support for an ambitious plastics treaty that puts a stop to unsustainable plastic production."
In the lead up to INC-2, The Plastic Forecast will debut in Paris, and with help from M&C Saatchi, showing up next to weather reports, across social media and in the news - directing viewers to plasticforecast.com.
The site will provide live updates on the weight of plastic falling on them that day, with weekly, monthly and yearly figures available.
M&C Saatchi Executive Creative Director, Emma Robbins, said if the new metric “sparks a reaction, fuels a conversation and ultimately influences the treaty then we’ve not just created an idea in the world, we’ve created some hope in the world too. And that’s the kind of work you want to get up every day and do.”
The Plastic Forecast is rolling out across Paris now, with more major cities to come. A short video about the project can be viewed here.