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D r J e n n i f e r L a v e r s
Plastics are a globally recognised environmental threat. Evidence is accumulating about the impacts of plastics on wildlife at all levels of the marine food web, from krill in Antarctica to hermit crabs on our tropical beaches, to seabirds on some of our most remote, protected, and otherwise pristine islands. The prevalence of plastics in seabird stomachs and their nests has been used as an indicator of levels of this pollutant in the ocean.
At Adrift Lab, we analyse data gathered by the birds, as well as plastic items on beaches, to identify long-term trends and quantify the impact that all this plastic is having on our environment. Our projects often focus on quantifying “sub-lethal effects” –the consequences of ingested plastics that are difficult to see with the naked eye. These sub-lethal effects may not immediately kill an animal, but they lead to suffering and a diversity of conditions that contribute to poor health in birds, sharks, fish, and turtles.
We use the information generated from our research outputs to engage the broader community and inform policy-making, with an aim to drive positive change for the ecology of our world’s oceans.
Plastic Pollution Solutions
The world is waking up to the growing plague of plastic in our environment and the realisation that we must move away from the “disposable” culture, which has become prevalent. Plastic pollution is a symptom of a deeper problem at the core of our culture. To achieve a world without plastic pollution will require nothing short of a complete mindset, behavioural and systems change incorporating comprehensive and sustained action from all quarters; individuals, communities, business and government. All of this must be underpinned by right education and a strong sense of urgency.
Most people now understand what a huge problem plastic is causing in our environment, to our fellow creatures and directly affecting humans as well. This problem has been caused by humans and can be solved by humans. You can be part of the solution! A big part of this is being conscious of everyday choices and behaviours and the consequences they can have for our environment.
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