Microplastics in the marine environment

PML contributes to Science in Parliament

Image courtesy of Shutterstock_287424425

 

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.

Other recent news articles

News

Going viral - What happens to infected phytoplankton?

Even phytoplankton, one of the ocean’s smallest but most important groups of organisms, are susceptible to viruses. A new study takes an in-depth look at how these interactions occur.

News

Marine Research Plymouth cements citys reputation as the UKs go-to location for marine science

The city of Plymouth has seen its position as an international centre of excellence for marine research further enhanced after its three leading science organisations joined forces to launch Marine Research Plymouth.

News

New report highlights why the ocean matters in climate negotiations & suggests positive actions nati

On World Oceans Day, and ahead of the G7 later this week, leading UK experts shine a spotlight on the critical role the ocean plays in greatly slowing the rate of climate change but also the subsequent impacts of this and why support from nations for better inclusion of the oc...