Scripps Institution of Oceanography to Host Plastic Awareness Global Initiative Symposium


Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is launching the Plastic Awareness Global Initiative (PAGI), a series of workshops and plenary sessions addressing plastic waste in the ocean. Hosted by the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation at Scripps, the four-day workshop will bring together leaders in the fields of marine science, government, and conservation along with dedicated philanthropists.

Every year, eight million metric tons of plastic enter the ocean. It is estimated that by 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by weight. While the large garbage patches harbor massive amounts of pollution on the ocean surface, plastics have even been found almost seven miles deep. Additionally, microplastics are an increasing concern because they can be ingested by commercially-important fish and shellfish.

“The problem of plastic pollution in the sea is daunting, however the worldwide interest and recent action on the topic is even more inspiring,” said Stuart Sandin, a scientist at Scripps and Director of the Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation. “With this workshop, we aim to advance the science on the topic to make sure that this overwhelming social response is as empowered with knowledge as possible.”

The workshop will be followed by two evenings of public events on Oct. 1-2. The first night, titled “The science of plastics in the sea,” will feature a plenary session with plastics experts, followed by a panel and reception. The following evening will feature nonprofit and government representatives in “Solutions for marine plastic pollution,” with presentations and a Q&A with the public.

Speakers include researchers from U.S. and international universities, industry leaders, and representatives from the Pew Charitable Trusts, Surfrider Foundation, Scripps Oceanography and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.  

Both events are open to the public but you must register online through the following links:

Oct. 1, 5:30-7:30 p.m. - “The science of plastics in the sea”

Oct. 2, 5:30-7:30 p.m.  - “Solutions for marine plastic pollution”

PAGI aims to bring global awareness and scientific insights to the global crisis of plastic saturation in the environment, to coordinate efforts throughout the world addressing the pressing problem, and to leverage expertise from Scripps ]Oceanography to the daunting challenges associated with the growing social/environmental problems of plastics in the oceans.

Scripps researchers made the first comprehensive survey of one of the largest aggregations of plastic in the oceans known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” during the 2009 SEAPLEX cruise. Combining focused analysis and synthesis of the scope of the problem with an outward facing public reporting of results and potential solutions, the PAGI effort is poised to take important steps forward to identify critical opportunities for addressing and mitigating plastic pollution.

The workshop is funded by contributions from the Wilsdorf Mettler Future Foundation and private donors.


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