Plastic debris is widely distributed at the sea surface, on the sea bed and on shorelines. Nearly 700 species are known to encounter marine litter, with many reports of physical harm resulting from entanglement in and ingestion of plastic.
At the same time it is very clear that plastic items bring many societal benefits. Can these benefits be achieved without emissions of waste to the environment?
Progress requires systemic changes in the way we produce, use and dispose of plastic. A key solution to two major environmental problems, our non-sustainable use of fossil carbon to produce plastics and the accumulation waste, lie in recycling end-of-life plastics into new products.
Professor Richard Thompson OBE is Director of the Marine Institute at the University of Plymouth. Named by an MP as ‘the godfather of microplastic research’, Richard has been studying the causes and impacts of marine litter for more than two decades. The first scientist to coin the phrase ‘microplastic’ to describe microscopic fragments of debris, his research has led the way for a number of significant discoveries and UK government policies, including the plastic bag tax and the ban on cosmetic microbeads. His expertise has been sought by international bodies from the USA to Singapore. He has also advised the European Commission and the United Nations Environment Programme, advocating for improved environmental practices within the plastics industry.
Date: Wednesday 16 October
Time: 13:00 - 13:45
Venue: The Levinsky Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building
Free admission, booking advised