Global Plastic Watch


Plastic pollution is one of the biggest, most urgent threats facing our planet and our health. Global Plastic Watch (GPW) is a digital platform that maps the world’s plastic pollution in near real-time using a unique combination of satellite imagery and artificial intelligence.

At Minderoo Foundation, we are committed to creating a world without plastic pollution by championing a circular plastics economy, increasing transparency across the plastics supply chain, and helping governments and industry make informed decisions to address the problem. Using freely available data from the European Space Agency, GPW detects open plastic waste sites on land and monitors them over time.

It serves as a tool that governments, funding agencies, intergovernmental organisations, NGOs, scientific researchers and the general public can use to make evidence-based decisions on how to manage and mitigate the world’s plastic pollution problem.

Currently, GPW can:

  1. Identify waste sites to enable site clean-ups and better enforcement of laws against dumping.
  2. Provide risk indicators for existing plastic waste sites such as proximity to water or communities.
  3. Highlight priority areas for investment in waste and recycling infrastructure.
  4. Demonstrate visible progress towards waste management targets.

So far, 25 countries have been mapped by the Global Plastic Watch tool. They include all of South-East Asia, Australia, and the top 20 countries in annual plastic leakage into the oceans according to scientific publication Science Advances. Already, in South-East Asia, GPW has discovered around 1,000 previously unreported informal dumpsites containing plastics, many of which are adjacent to rivers, and, therefore risk leakage in the ocean.

GPW is in beta and both the accuracy of the results and the platform itself will be gradually refined. The first edition of the Global Plastic Watch was published in April 2022 and will continue to be updated regularly as more data is analysed.


Global Plastic Watch uses remote sensing satellite imagery from the European Space Agency and a first-of-its-kind machine learned model created in collaboration with award winning Digital Product Agency for the Environment, Earthrise Media.