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Cambridge Global Challenges


British Antarctic Survey is hosting a workshop in Cambridge to bridge science, policy and business to explore solutions for reducing and mitigating ocean plastic pollution.

With around 5 million tonnes of plastic entering our oceans each year, recent estimates suggest that there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. Its presence on shorelines, in surface waters and at depth, poses a significant threat to global marine ecosystems. Most notably by existing at a range of sizes, plastics can interact with marine life both physically and chemically. Physically, larger plastics can cause entanglements and obstructions and in their smallest form they can be easily consumed by organisms at the base of the food chain. Chemically, plastics have been shown to readily absorb other toxic pollutants in the ocean and are often manufactured with additives which can increase their toxicity. This has implications on marine life which feed on them, including commercial fish species which ultimately poses a threat to human health.

Marine sampling efforts, increasing media awareness through series like BBC Blue Planet II and scientific research on the effects of plastics in the ocean have brought to light the extent of the problem, and have subsequently led to the UK Government announcing a 25 year plan to reduce consumption.  Similarly, collaboration is required to effectively find a variety of solutions.

Through cross-sectorial presentations, panel discussions and innovation showcases this workshop aims to:

  • Facilitate knowledge exchange in order to assess gaps and future actions required;
  • Generate solutions-driven networking to identify opportunities for collaboration.

Attendees are welcome from across all sectors, from industry, policy, environmental organisations and academia.

Speakers and panellists include representatives from Sky Ocean Rescue, Mott MacDonald, Unilever, DEFRA, WRAP, UNEP-WCMC, Green Alliance, Plymouth and Exeter Universities, BAS and NERC.

Participants are offered a chance to showcase their ideas and the the top idea will win 6 months’ free workspace at the Aurora Centre, plus a space on the Serious Impact accelerator programme run by Allia.


Please find further details here and register here .


Wednesday, 7 March, 2018 - 09:00 to 19:00
Cambridge Global Challenges is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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