Bite size: Marine Litter: Are There Solutions to this Global Environmental Challenge?
  • The Levinsky Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building, University of Plymouth

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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.

*Please note* Tickets for this event are limited, we recommend booking in advance to guarantee your space.

Date: Wednesday 16 October
Time: 13:00 - 13:45
Venue: The Levinsky Gallery, Roland Levinsky Building
Free admission, booking is essential

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Today's events

Mariner: a painted ship upon a painted ocean

Join us in The Levinsky Gallery from Monday 23 September–Saturday 16 November for a fascinating exhibition exploring the contemporary relevance of one of the most influential poems in the English language 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', featuring a range of new commissions and selected artworks from international artists.

Investigating issues around ecology, the environment, immigration and displacement, this exhibition is accompanied by a thought-provoking programme of talks, film and poetry. 

Find out more about the Mariner

View the associated programme

Antarctica Raft of the Medusa. Courtesy Lucy + Jorge Orta

Marine Institute

Representing 3000 staff, researchers and students, the University of Plymouth's Marine Institute is the first and largest such institute in the UK. 

We provide the external portal to our extensive pool of world-leading experts and state-of-the-art facilities, enabling us to understand the relationship between the way we live, the seas that surround us and the development of sustainable policy solutions.

Discover more about the Marine Institute

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