I had the privilege to attend and speak at the 6th International Marine Debris Conference, which took place in San Diego, California, from the 12th to the 16th of March 2018. The conference gathered more than 700 delegates from 54 different countries, all with the goal of sharing their research and advances about impacts, and preventing and mitigating plastic pollution around the globe. From researchers to stakeholder to activists, we had a little of everything and one thing was obvious: even though there is a lot we do not know yet about the impacts of plastics caused at various levels, we have enough knowledge to act. It is time to act now.
In the last few weeks we have seen a lot of media coverage on the topic of plastic pollution and even though most of it is resulting of really bad impacts being seen at the moment, they are making the general public very aware that something needs to change and it has to be now. Governmental proposals of banning single use plastics are finally happening and I am very hopeful that more mitigation measures and potential solutions will be brought forward and hopefully we can turn the tide on plastic pollution.
I got to speak about the about “The use of beached bird surveys for marine litter monitoring in Ireland” and had a really good feedback and interesting conversations with other researchers wanting or already implementing the same in their own countries.
The conference had a zero waste initiative and we all had our reusable cups and lunch bags from registration. Food was also donated to local shelter. At the end of the conference we had the very nice surprise to have Jack Johnson to talk about how he has reduced and advocated for no plastic waste at his concerts and we also got treated to a couple of songs! In the following days, I also got to enjoy a little bit of beautiful San Diego.
If you wish to read more about the conference, please visit their website here.
Conference proceedings are available here.
Until next time,