How Reuters Graphics Uses Impactful Data Visualizations

After examining Drowning in Plastic, a visualization by Reuters Graphics in 2019, I immediately needed to share the impact these visuals had on me with my readers. Reuters Graphics does a fantastic job of making a statement about how we are adding to the earth’s plastic problem. As our society becomes more and more aware of the issue plastic has on our environment, the more people want to educate others on the harms it has and will play in the future. Humans are addicted to drinking water from plastic bottles because we have received our filtered water in these containers for decades. This normality of plastic bottles has turned into a vast garbage and pollution problem around the entire world.

Taking a peek at the Reuters Graphics website, I instantly felt the guilt of purchasing plastic water bottles, starting as you open the page, a countdown of how many plastic bottles being purchased totals up. The number continues to climb, and to the right, an enormous pile of plastic bottles flying down on top of a man and a motor home. Some of the two are completely submerged under a thousand and then millions of baby blue bottles. As you continue down the page, more visualizations show more enormous piles of plastic bottles in relation to famous landmarks and cityscapes. It is shocking to see and disgusting to know how many plastic bottles are sold and used.

Found on Reuter Graphics’ website

These visuals are powerful in expressing the severity of the plastic bottle issue that plagues our society and degrades the earth’s beauty. Illustrating the amount of plastic bottles compared to popular landmarks opens readers’ eyes to how much plastic bottles can total up to, piling higher than most of these gigantic locations. This idea of creating visuals of the plastic bottle problem is way more compelling because people can firsthand see how big of a problem it is. Presenting data percentages and merely stating the problem is not enough to persuade people to understand the problem’s gravity. 

I believe this method of presenting plastic bottles’ issue through interactive and impressive visuals to be strategic communications. Framing and constructing a narrative around the severity of pollution emphasizes the importance of using recyclable alternatives, such as reusable bottles. This emphasis creates brand recognition for Reuter Graphics and helps spread the word about the issue. Executing a story through these visuals allows readers to reflect on their plastic bottle consumption, and this is the perfect example of smart communication. These visuals have informed the public of Reuter Graphics’ mission, and thus change is bound to follow. I know after engaging with the visuals, I am more aware of the problem. Great job, Reuter Graphics! Please check them out and discover all of the organization’s many other impactful graphics.

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