From May 25 to 27 2016 worldwide researchers on the ‘fate and impact of microplastics in marine ecosystems’ gathered in Arrecife, Lanzarote to talk about the current state and developments. During these three days many presentations were given and many posters presented.
One of them was Abby Barrows, researcher for adventureandscience.org, whom we finally got to meet, which was great! While staying on board of the ‘Orion’ she shared lots of insights in her work and we had lively conversations on the topic, also with other participants at the conference.
Although we are not scientists ourselves, we were invited to contribute to the conference, which we did with both our posters about our work and with a presentation. During the latter we highlighted the importance of citizen science. The main message was that citizen science is not just a very useful way to collect data. More than that it creates awareness and makes people really look critically at their own use of plastic. Our message was supported by other initiatives and NGO’s that were present as well.
Our conclusion after three days: microplastics are everywhere, from freshwater to ocean water, in all layers of the ecosystem. Though there is a still a lot of research to be done it is evident that it is harmful. There is a great need for standardisation of methods of sampling and analysing to compare studies. There has to be a lot more communication with policy makers, manufacturers and consumers.
Many times we were horrified by seeing the impact of microplastics in parts of the ecosystem. The paradigm that is advocated these days about Reduce, Reuse, Recycle needs to be replaced by REDUCE REDUCE REDUCE.
Really, we need to stop polluting this planet NOW. Microplastic is a slow killer in all layers of life. Also human life. So if we still want to give our future generations a better planet, stop using single use plastic.