Plastic pollution is an issue of global concern. Plastic waste is now ubiquitous in the marine environment, even being found in deep seas and trapped in arctic sea ice. It affects the wildlife through ingestion and entanglement and impacts species throughout the food chain from plankton to whales. Since plastic waste is also consumed by animals that we eat as seafood, our waste is returning to us on our dinner plates. Whilst this is currently considered to pose a risk to human health, more research in this area is required.
In this project we teamed up with the Plastic Oceans Foundation to provide scientific advisory for their feature length documentary about this environmental problem: A Plastic Ocean, released in 2016. In addition, we are currently forming a multi-disciplinary plastics research group of ecotoxicologists, materials scientists and social scientists to drive solutions to the plastic problem in collaboration with both UK based and international groups. Within this, we are currently conducting our own research on human attitudes and perceptions of plastic in the environment to inform strategies for behaviour change interventions that will start to slow the flow of plastic from us, the consumers, to the ocean.