Ending Plastic Pollution
Our planet is littered with plastic form the deepest oceans to the highest mountains. Micropalstics are present in the air we breath and the water we drink, 100s of species including humans are reported to contain microplastics. The evidence of a global environmental plastic pollution crisis is very clear. Finally there is now political momentum towards solutions - The UN Plastic Pollution Treaty offers a once in a planet opportunity to address this challenge and 180 nations including Japan will be negotiating its format in November. Regrettably there has been very little research to examine the effectiveness of existing solutions, to devise new solutions and to consider the trade-offs among solutions. This work is a priority and your input as the next generation of scientists will be critical. But do not underestimate the power of your voice today I would also urge you to write to the Japanese representatives to the UN Plastic Pollution and encourage them to work hard to secure a strong and legally binding Treaty to protect our plant from plastic Pollution.
Richard C. Thompson OBE FRS
Professor of Marine Biology
International Marine Litter Research Unit
University of Plymouth
Richard is a Professor of Marine Biology and Director of the University of Plymouth, Marine Institute. He is a world expert on plastic pollution. In 2004, he published the first paper describing the accumulation of microscopic fragments of plastic in the environment, naming them ‘microplastics’. He and his team have been at the forefront of research describing the distribution and impacts of plastic debris in the environment. This pioneering work was pivotal in recognition of microplastic contamination in policy, such as Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Increasingly his work focus on evaluating the efficacy of solutions to this global environmental challenge.