Researchers help mitigate marine plastic pollution

Woman picks up plastic waste from beachASU Center for Biodiversity Outcome Founding Director Leah Gerber and Life Sciences PhD student Miranda Bernard were participants in the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center, or SESYNC, through the Plastic Pollution Emissions Working Group to address the growing marine plastic pollution problem. The amount of research surrounding marine plastic pollution has drastically increased in the past decade, highlighting the scale of the problem. Microplastics have been found globally in birds, fish, bottled water and even table salt, yet their impacts are not well understood. A group of researchers from non-profits, governmental agencies, international organizations and universities from the Unites States and abroad convened in Annapolis, MD to discuss different tactics and modeling efforts to ameliorate marine plastic pollution. Their efforts are available in a paper titled “Mitigating oceanic plastic pollution: modeling inputs, interventions and future scenarios to direct mitigation strategies for achieving measurable improvements to marine ecosystems.” This paper was published on SESYNC by the PlasticPEG on December 14, 2018. By addressing plastic pollution now, we can abate impacts before they become any worse. Therefore, the goal of the working group is to develop a model that captures the flow of plastics from production through various waste streams. By understanding these pathways, the group aims to understand the impacts of various interventions to ultimately direct future mitigation strategies.