How can we tackle the problem of marine litter?

Published: 5 December 2017 at 16:04

Plastic bottles on a beach

Plastics pollution expert Professor Richard Thompson will speak at Anglia Ruskin

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One of the world’s leading experts on marine plastic pollution will deliver a free public talk at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge on Monday, 11 December (5pm).

Professor Richard Thompson will discuss the extent of this global issue – highlighted recently by the BBC series Blue Planet II – and what we as individuals can do about it.

Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University, has carried out extensive research into ocean plastic pollution and actually coined the term microplastics.

The talk will be introduced by Dr Dannielle Green of Anglia Ruskin University, who has co-authored studies with Professor Thompson.

Dr Green, who has conducted important research on the impact of plastics on wider ecosystems, as opposed to specific species, as well as the effects of biodegradable plastics, said:

“Marine debris is a growing environmental problem.  It is widely distributed at the sea surface, on the sea bed and on shorelines.  Around 75% of this litter is plastic.

“Nearly 700 species are known to encounter marine litter, with many reports of physical harm resulting from entanglement in and ingestion of plastic. Blue Planet’s footage of the albatross feeding its chick with plastic, scooped from the ocean’s surface, was incredibly emotive and has really put the issue at the front of people’s minds. 

“Professor Thompson will give an overview of the scale of the problem and talk about what we can do to improve the situation now and for future generations.”

The talk, which is free to attend, will take place in room LAB 002 on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus on Monday, 11 December (5pm).