Microplastic Pollution: Everyone’s problem - but what is being done about it?

16th October 2017

Plastic pollution is recognised as a serious worldwide problem in the marine environment, added to which there is mounting evidence for more insidious effects on aquatic ecosystems via freshwater sources and wastewaters. It has been shown that significant quantities of microfibres from washing synthetic fabrics end up in sewage sludge and also escape current water treatment processes. Microparticles can interfere with feeding patterns of aquatic life and expose them to plasticisers and other additives. Plastics can also preferentially sorb persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic pollutants which, if they enter the food chain, pose potential health risks to aquatic and terrestrial higher organisms, including people. This workshop will bring together researchers from marine and freshwater backgrounds to review our current understanding of the risks and knowledge gaps. There will be discussion on how best to address plastic pollution of the aquatic environment and respond to the identified evidence gaps and policy needs.


Morning Session

Welcome and Introduction
Adrian Clark

Microplastics: a brief introduction
Professor Richard Thompson, Professor of Marine Biology, Plymouth University.

Environmental impacts of plastic debris in marine ecosystems
Dr Dannielle Green, Anglia Ruskin University

Microplastics: Understanding sources and potential impacts in the freshwater environment
Dr Katie J Whitlock, Research Scientist (Fisheries) at the Environment Agency

Wastewater treatment and microplastics - Sink, Source or Solution?
Dr Matt Hill MCIWM, Environmental Lead Advisor,Environmental Regulation and Modelling, Yorkshire Water

Microplastics in freshwater systems: Current and future research priorities
Alice Horton, Ecotoxicologist, Centre for Ecology & The Hydrology, Wallingford

Afternoon Session 14:00 - 15.30 (Science Room)

RSC’s activities in addressing microplastics
Dr Camilla Alexander-White, Programme Manager Environment & Regulation, RSC.

The ubiquity of microplastics in the marine environment, and the challenges of accurate reporting
Dr Lucy Woodall, University of Oxford

Micro & macro plastics, where do we go from here?
Dr Thomas Maes, National & International Monitoring Programmes Co-ordinator, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft.

The human dimension: how social and behavioural research can help address plastics in the environment
Dr Sabine Pahl, School of Psychology, Plymouth University

Poster: Improved Methods for Microfibre Quantification and Characterisation: A Collaborative Approach with Forensic Fibre Analysis 
Dr Claire Gwinnett and Dr Mohammed Sedky

Exhibitor: Micro-plastic Analysis Solutions