Policy impact
The International Marine Litter Research Unit (IMLRU) first published a paper on microplastics in 2004. For almost 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. 

Leading UK marine scientists welcome the move towards a global plastics pact

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.

Read the full University press release
<p>marine plastics, plastic, marine litter, on a beach<br></p>
<p><i></i>Volvo Environment Prize 2022 Laureates. From Left to right; Professor Penelope Lindeque, Plymouth Marine Laboratory; Professor Richard Thompson, University of Plymouth and Professor Tamara Galloway, Exeter University</p><p>


Volvo Environment Prize 2022 awarded for world-leading microplastics research

For two decades Professor Richard Thompson OBE FRS, Professor Tamara Galloway OBE (University of Exeter) and Professor Penelope Lindeque (Plymouth Marine Laboratory) have worked to discover the global extent of microplastics in our oceans and their impact on the environment and our food chains. They have also looked into potential solutions to this international problem.
Their continued collaboration and research has helped to bring about changes in global policy, influencing the United Nations Treaty on Plastic Pollution, signed by 175 nations earlier in the year.

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.  
<p>School of tropical fish swimming near a coral reef<br></p>