Norwich Science Café: Microplastics: The unseen part of the plastic waste crisis
Microplastics: The unseen part of the plastic waste crisis!
With Andrew Mayes UEA
Over the last few years, harm caused by plastic pollution in global ecosystems, particularly the oceans, has been widely highlighted through TV documetaries such as BBC “Blue Planet 2” and “Drowning in Plastic”. This has led to lively public and political debate about our relationship to plastics and the way we use and perceive them.
It is now widely accepted that we cannot continue to behave in the way we have over recent decades with regard to single-use plastic waste, and voluntary schemes and legislation are gradually changing habits. This will hopefully “stem the tide” in terms of waste packaging plastic entering the environment, but what about all the stuff that is already there? Through abrasion and weathering, larger “macroplastics” gradually breaks down into microscopic fragments, which might create new threats due to the way they interact with biological organisms. Microplastics are small and hard to see, but should “out of sight” be “out of mind”?
In this Café session, Andrew will discuss some of the background to the microplastics story and show, with “hands-on” activities, how his group at UEA is addressing the challenge of detecting and counting microplastics in various types of samples.
Ages: Suitable for all