Professor Richard Thompson's talk on Marine Litter - Plastics aren't the enemy. It is how we choose to use plastics.

We had the pleasure of hosting Professor Richard Thompson OBE from the University of Plymouth to speak about marine litter! He has dedicated the last 25 years of his career examining the issues of marine plastics, and even coined the term "microplastics"!

Thank you to everyone who had attended the talk yesterday evening, and we hoped that you had learnt more about our interactions with plastics, and feel inspired to live more responsibly with them! In case you missed out on this talk, here are some key messages from his talk.

Summary of talk:

  • It is unsurprising that plastics are highlighted as the main marine litter. Because plastics ARE dominant among the various litter picked
  • Professor Thompson has seen mega debris so big that it can be seen from satellite images, all the way down to micro-sized plastics
  • Let us not forget that plastics are very useful materials (durable, light, inexpensive). They have the potential to reduce our environmental footprint
  • Plastics aren't the enemy here! The problem is how we choose to produce and use plastics
  • Our long-term relationship with plastics is to... throw away! We are 'taught' to view plastics as disposable and to throw away
  • It is not about living without plastics. It is about how we live with plastics more responsibly
  • Plastic products were previously not designed for 'end-of-life' - no one had thought about where the plastic microbeads would end up?
  • The way forward is to rethink and redesign the way we produce plastic products
  • Can plastics be manufactured and be turned into a circular economy? (i.e Recycling)
  • Stem the source - stop plastics from entering our freshwater and coastal ecosystems
  • Education is key, particularly building awareness in our young children

Finally, thanks to the British High Commission Singapore, National Parks Board, and National University of Singapore for organising this event. Thanks for letting Celebrating Singapore Shores be a partner!

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