Last year, PML scientist Dr Pennie Lindeque gave a presentation to the Parliamentary and Scientific Committee at Westminster, contributing expert knowledge to the meeting “What are we going to do about plastics?”.
Her talk was directed at an audience composed of Members of both Houses of Parliament and representatives of leading scientific and technical institutions, universities and major companies.
The focus of Dr Lindeque’s talk was the current challenge of widespread microplastics polluting the marine environment, based around research conducted at PML with the University of Exeter, which has demonstrated that a range of zooplankton - including copepods, the larvae of bivalves, for example mussels and oysters, and juvenile decapods like crabs and lobsters - all have the capacity to ingest microplastics (Cole, Lindeque et al., 2013). Tiny plastics can also get trapped on the appendages of these animals, potentially affecting their movement and ability to detect predators and prey. Dr Lindeque also emphasised to the Committee the need for understanding the impact of this problem and the urgent action required to combat it.
During her visit to Westminster, Dr Lindeque also discussed the work PML is undertaking with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation with funding from the People’s Postcode Lottery, working towards a New Plastics Economy and the prevention of plastic litter entering the marine environment.
The Committee’s remit is to inform members of Houses of Parliament, scientific bodies, science-based industry and the academic world of issues where science and politics meet. It demonstrates the relevance of scientific and technological developments to matters of public interest and to the development of national policy, and PML’s topics were no exception.