Five members of the International Marine Litter Research Unit attend the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution meeting in Kenya
A team of researchers from the University of Plymouth is this week joining world leaders in Kenya as talks continue over the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution.
Five members of the International Marine Litter Research Unit are in Nairobi for the third meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee on Plastic Pollution (INC).
They will be observing plenary and side events sessions, making oral interventions and responding to national delegations on the scientific questions they have in relation to the Treaty and plastic pollution in general.
Between them, they are working on projects centred around biodegradable plastics, tyre particles, microfibre release and plastic pollution in Indonesia.
They regularly engage with policy makers, industry and communities all over the world to better understand the local and global challenges being posed by plastic pollution.
The INC was established after the adoption of a resolution to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution.
It was signed at a gathering of the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022, and the INC has been meeting since then to discuss how to put the agreement into practice.
Professor Thompson was among the contributors to the initial report that led to the treaty being signed, and has also attended previous INC discussions.

The UN plastic pollution treaty offers a once in a planet opportunity to address this global issue. However, the impacts and the solutions vary among nations, meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach to reducing production, consumption, waste and litter. If we are to avoid unintended negative consequences it is essential – as national delegations advance their considerations of the text for the Treaty here in Nairobi – that those deliberations are properly informed by independent scientific evidence.

Richard Thompson OBE FRSRichard Thompson OBE FRS
Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit

During a plenary session ahead of the INC3 meeting, officials from Nepal spoke about the unique challenges the country is facing from plastic pollution and referenced the University's own research into the microplastics found high on the slopes of Mount Everest.
Following this Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS met the officials to discuss that research, and the problems such pollution causes for mountain communities and others downstream in Nepal.
Read more about our record-breaking research on plastics in the Himalayas: Microplastics in the Death Zone 
Professor Richard Thompson at INC3

Supporting the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution

Plymouth’s researchers have an abundance of experience that directly links to the chosen areas of focus at INC3, in particular looking at:
  • the reduction of intentionally added microplastics;
  • the enhancement of the design of plastic products;
  • the use of alternatives to plastics as a viable and environmentally-sound solution;
  • and the effectiveness of plastic pollution removal technology.
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