Professor Richard Thompson
Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS is one of three signatories on a letter to United States President Joe Biden calling for independent scientific evidence to inform his country’s position on the United Nations Treaty to end Plastic Pollution.
The letter, from the Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty, thanks the President and his administration for their stance to date on plastic pollution and environmental justice.
However, it also calls for any future actions and commitments to be directly linked to independent research so as to "ensure accurate, evidence-based decision making."
The letter has been sent ahead of the latest round of negotiations exploring how the treaty, signed by more than 170 world leaders in March 2022, can be effectively implemented worldwide.
It includes an invitation for President Biden to meet with the scientists to explore how their research might directly inform future US policy.
Professor Thompson, Head of the University’s International Marine Litter Research Unit, is a Co-Coordinator of the Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty.

Plastic pollution is a global environmental challenge with evidence of harm right along the value chain from material extraction to disposal. The UN plastic pollution treaty offers a once-in-a-planet opportunity to begin using plastics more sustainably. But its success rests in securing international agreement among member states. Given its size, influence and commercial interests in plastics, the US is a key player with the potential to demonstrate immense stewardship, so its alignment with the aspirations of the Treaty is of key importance.

Richard Thompson OBE FRSRichard Thompson OBE FRS
Director of the Marine Institute

This is not the first time Professor Thompson has engaged with senior US officials regarding the global threats posed by plastic pollution.
In June 2014, he was invited by then Secretary of State John Kerry to attend a summit in Washington, D.C. that called for closer cooperation to overcome the challenges facing our oceans.

INC-4: Supporting the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee

A delegation from the University of Plymouth will be attending the INC-4 negotiations in Ottawa, Canada, where world leaders will gather to continue discussing the UN plastic pollution treaty.
They will be staging a panel debate centred around some of the alternatives and substitutes to plastics, and also observing some of the discussions taking place.
United Nations

International Marine Litter Research Unit

Marine litter is a global environmental problem with items of debris now contaminating habitats from the poles to the equator, from the sea surface to the deep sea. 
Furthering our understanding of litter on the environment and defining solutions.
Marine litter