Plastic pollution in Indonesia
The International Marine Litter Research Unit (IMLRU) first published a paper on microplastics in 2004. For two decades, the unit's research on the environmental impact of plastics in the ocean has taken the discoveries from the deepest oceans to the highest mountain peaks. 
The team are now focussed on driving a solutions-based approach to marine litter, starting with the design stage of plastics. Their work continues to influence both national and international policy.

Supporting the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution

"It is essential that we change our ways and use plastics far more responsibly than we have in the past; that is the only way to realise the potential environmental benefits that plastic can bring without the rapidly accelerating levels of harm that we currently see."
The global plastics treaty – designed to support progress towards the ambition set out within the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) – was committed to by 170 world leaders at the United Nations Environment Assembly in March 2022. This legally binding instrument, to be established by 2024, will look to address the full life cycle of plastic including in the marine environment.

Publications to inform policy

Our research focuses on understanding the accumulation and harm caused by marine litter, and the potential solutions to this global crisis.
Biodegradability of plastics

Research Excellence Framework 2021

The University of Plymouth achieved excellent results in the REF 2021 submissions. The ground-breaking work of the International Marine Litter Research Unit  (IMLRU) has become the epitome of impact-led, socially engaged research. The team has been pioneering in their work to identify the issue of microplastics and marine litter, reveal its true global scale, and influence policy in key areas to tackle it.  
Fish swimming in coral reef square