Going back to a plastic pollution free Galapagos

Project Background

Galapagos Conservation Trust (GCT) has been working closely with the Galapagos National Park (GNP) and other island partners to understand the best approach to tackling the issue of plastic pollution in the Archipelago since 2017. The result is the Plastic Pollution Free Galapagos programme, a multi-million pound, multi-year project, which feeds into broader work looking to tackle pollution across the Eastern Pacific region through Pacific Plastics: Science to Solutions

Within this flagship programme, GCT brings together an alliance of NGOs, local community and international scientists from the fields of oceanography, marine biology, ecotoxicology, environmental psychology and even archaeology to combine ground-breaking scientific research with coordinated education and outreach to make Galapagos plastic pollution-free once again.

© Andy Donnelly

Example of discarded fishing equipment washed up on a beach in Galapagos © Andy Donnelly

The project is split into three streams, physical, biological and human.

  • The Physical System team set out to answer questions such as where does the rubbish come from, how does it get there and what happens to it?
  • The Biological System team are answering questions such as: which Galapagos species are most at risk from marine plastic, how does it move through the ecosystem and how do we lower the risk it poses?
  • The Human System studies set out to understand what the level of understanding of the issue was in Galapagos, what the main barriers are to using alternatives, how effective policy changes are and what the most effective form of education and awareness campaigns are.

Interventions at a regional scale are planned with the communities and industries identified as being the primary polluters. The aim is to prove in Galapagos methods that can be applied to coastal national parks around the world suffering from plastic pollution problems.


To find out more about the project, please visit our blog for project updates.  


How you can help

Please help us to make Galapagos plastic pollution free by donating today.

Coverage of the project

Our Chief Executive Sharon Johnson was interviewed by ITV News on May 29 2018 about this project which you can watch here. There was also extended ITV News coverage – to watch the clip follow this link and skip to 1 minute 45 seconds. 

In October 2018, this work was featured in a video on the BBC Plastics Watch website which you can see here.


This project is kindly supported by: