Public lecture: Caring for our seas

The devastating effects of plastics pollution, the environmental health hazards facing surfers and the alien species being distributed by ships are to be investigated at the University of Plymouth Autumn Marine Institute Public Lecture.

The free public event entitled ‘Caring For Our Seas’ invites the audience to look at the issues associated with caring for the cleanliness of the world’s oceans as leading local marine scientists showcase their research interests on a diverse range of environmental concerns.

Richard Thompson will share his internationally renowned research on the increasingly serious issue of plastics pollution. Speaking ahead of his talk, he said; “Concerns include accumulation of plastic waste in natural habitats, physical problems for wildlife such as ingestion or entanglement and the leaching and transfer of chemicals. However the most important concern is that our current usage is unsustainable. The quantity of plastics produced in the last ten years is likely to approach the quantity produced in the entire previous century – there is a real urgency to tackle this problem.”

Jonathan Challacombe will consider the operational aspects of the carriage of water ballast in ships – a key distributor of alien species. Jonathan commented “Each year 10 billion tonnes of ballast water is transferred around the globe by commercial shipping. Ballast water discharges are believed to be a major source of invasive alien species in coastal waters thus posing public health and environmental risks.”

Graham Bradley will highlight the lesser known dangers of surfing, as he says; “The EU has water quality regulations that claim to protect seawater-based sportspersons from faecial pollution during ‘bathing season’, but what about outside of this season when many people still surf’ I will explore the limitations of the current regulations and the possibility of testing methods.”

A question and answer session will follow the talks and the event will close with a reception for the attendees.

Caring For Our Seas, which is free and open to everyone, takes place 24 November, 6.30pm, Devonport Lecture Theatre, University of Plymouth.


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