TOPIOS : In the EU-funded TOPIOS project, which started in April 2017, scientists are trying to solve the so-called ‘missing plastic problem’. “This means that as much as 99 % of ocean plastic is missing: we don’t know exactly where it is or what damage it is doing. TOPIOS aims to fill in the gaps in our understanding.” says Erik van Sebille (Utrecht University), who was awarded a prestigious ERC grant to lead the project.
Van Sebille and his colleagues will create state-of-the-art hydrodynamic ocean models able to track the movement of plastic through the ocean. The resulting modelling framework will make it possible to simulate the various ways in which plastic is transported around the ocean, whether through fragmentation, sinking, beaching, ocean currents, wave-mixing or ingestion by living organisms. It will also enable to assess where the risk of plastic to marine life is the greatest.
Coordination : Universiteit Utrecht, Netherlands, Netherlands
Funding scheme : ERC-2016-STG, STG