So far, we lack hard evidence on the net benefits of plastic removal technologies. On the contrary, there is often bycatch mortality associated with these technologies, which becomes a problem if scaled up. We have to scrutinise these technologies by applying science-based criteria to prevent regrettable outcomes.
Marine ecologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute in Germany
Our research has shown that cleanup technology can harm marine life and be ineffective at actually cleaning. If we focus on cleanup as a solution to plastic pollution we condemn future generations to continue contaminating the environment and cleaning up as an afterthought. The UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution needs systemic upstream solutions focused on prevention, not symptom management.
Richard Thompson OBE FRS
Head of the International Marine Litter Research Unit
International Marine Litter Research Unit
Marine litter is a global environmental problem with items of debris now contaminating habitats from the poles to the equator, from the sea surface to the deep sea.
International Marine Litter Research news
- University scientists join world leaders at global plastic pollution negotiations 14 November 2023
- Scientists caution against a reliance on mechanical devices to clear water bodies of plastic 9 November 2023
- Student’s design to combat fishing nets stranded on our beaches 18 October 2023
- Pioneering microplastics researcher receives the 2023 Blue Planet Prize 4 October 2023
- Scientists continue work to establish the fate and impact of tyre wear particles in the environment 20 September 2023