Working in the area of dissemination you can see how people are becoming ever more aware of the terms ‘plastic litter’, ‘microplastics’ and ‘nanoplastics’. There are plenty of blogs out there discussing plastics and images showing their increasing presence on the landscape from people who are passionate about wanting to help curtail the ever increasing pressure we are putting on our ecosystems and in particular our waterways.
I recently came across some very effective short videos: Plastic-Free Waterways Video Series aimed at getting the message out there about plastic litter. With all of this exposure ‘Why isn’t anything being done?’
There actually is lots being done in the background!
Research and more research!! You may not be aware of the investment in the funding of research projects such as this one to explore the sources and pathways of microplastics. To me it makes sense that the more scientific information available, the more informed a decision the government can make, which can result in a more effective action/approach being taken. With this in mind our Government each year invests money to help “identify pressures, inform policy and develop solutions to environmental challenges through the provision of strong evidence-based scientific knowledge” through state agencies such as the EPA, SFI, the Marine Institute and Teagasc. Believe me when I say this is not a plug for our government as I will be one of the first in line to apply pressure to act once we have sufficient information – mmhh sounds like a cop out. When is sufficient enough? I do think that it is all the little things collectively that will curb the plastic tide i.e.every research report and paper, all the media coverage and on line blogs.
This blog will follow some of the scientists on this project to get an insight into life as a plastics researcher, the highs and lows of sampling, the trials and tribulations of processing the plastic samples once collected, interesting facts they uncover along the way and whether they believe that their part will make a difference in the scale of the plastic litter problem being uncovered.
Image by Boomerang Alliance
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