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Approximately nine million tons of plastic waste end up in the ocean each year, threatening our ecosystems, wildlife and human health. By mobilizing global communities and investing in science, exploration, innovation and education, the National Geographic Society is working to tackle the world’s plastic waste crisis.

Science, Innovation, Education


Through solutions-focused grants, National Geographic is supporting individuals working to reduce plastic pollution at the source, both by reducing individual plastic consumption and reducing the flow of plastics into watersheds.


National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures are asking problem solvers from around the globe to create innovative solutions to the plastic waste crisis and compete for a share of $1.5 million in awards and investment.


National Geographic is committed to empowering the next generation of planetary stewards through its robust education offerings, including classroom resources to teach about ocean plastic and how students can be part of the solution for plastic pollution.

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Photos by Randy Olson and Shawn Miller appear in the June issue of National Geographic magazine and National Geographic's Planet or Plastic? campaign, a multi-year initiative aimed at raising awareness of the global plastic crisis and reducing the amount of single-use plastic that is polluting our world's oceans. Photo on furthering science by gregg treinish; Photo on ADVANCING INNOVATION by sirtravelalot/Shutterstock; photo on elevating education by ami vitale; Photo of heather koldewey is courtesy of heather koldewey.