Last Wednesday, we had the privilege of hosting Professor Richard Thompson OBE, from the University of Plymouth, in Singapore to speak about marine litter. His research focuses on the effects of plastic debris in the marine environment, and the term ‘microplastics’ originated from him!
In case you missed his seminar, here are some of the key messages he shared:
- Plastics are prevalent through the litter picked up, hence it is not surprising that it would be the predominant type of litter found in the marine environment.
- Plastics are undeniably very useful materials – they are cheap, waterproof, durable, and light. They have the potential to reduce our reliance on other resources.
- We are so used to viewing plastics as being disposable, and throwing them away. We need to change this mindset!
- We should not be striving to go plastic free, but to live responsibly with plastics.
- At the moment, plastics are designed for marketing and usage purposes only – not with any “end-of-life” in mind – which is what we should be considering instead.
- We should be stopping plastic waste from entering our aquatic environments, and not just focusing on cleaning it up from the beaches and coastlines.
- Ultimately, we need to explore the possibility of turning our plastic use from a linear to a circular economy.
We would like to thank the British High Commission of Singapore, National Parks Board, and Celebrating Singapore Shores for being our partners in organising this Research Seminar. We would also like to thank all the guests that attended the seminar! We hope that you have gained more understanding about marine litter!