More than a century after its invention, plastic has become a global addiction and a growing catastrophe. Through on-going research and initiatives, the University of Hull is committed to carrying the flag in the fight against plastic pollution.
Over the last 50 years, plastic has revolutionised the way we live. It’s cheap, convenient and virtually indestructible. But in revolutionising so many aspects of our lives, plastic has come with a potentially deadly price, not least for our oceans. According to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and World Economic Forum, if we do not take drastic action there will be more plastic than fish in our waters by 2050. In order to save our fragile marine environment there needs to be a concerted effort towards ending our dependence on plastic. This is one of the biggest crises of our generation, and the University of Hull is working on solutions.
Many people are aware of the issues surrounding plastic pollution – but awareness doesn’t necessarily mean action. That’s why we launched #MyPlasticPledge, a scheme inspiring colleagues, students, alumni, and research and business partners to pledge to actively focus on using less plastic. It’s put a global crisis into the perspective of individuals, enabling them to make a difference in their own ways. By signing up, people can make small changes which will collectively make a huge difference in helping to protect our marine environment.
We’re also putting our research efforts into protecting the environment. The University’s Energy and Environment Institute Director, Professor Dan Parsons, has been selected to chair a scoping group for research into tackling the mounting global issue of plastic pollution in the environment. Dan chairs the group for the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK’s largest funder of independent environmental science, training and innovation, delivered through universities and research centres. The group of selected individuals will develop a proposal for large strategic research on tackling plastic pollution in the environment.
“With the world waking up to the potential impacts plastic pollution can have, we now need to turn that interest into concerted action, identify intervention points, and help guide policy and law changes to tackle this global challenge,” says Dan. “I’m excited to lead this scoping group, the end result of which we hope will be to provide an understanding of the pathway and ultimate fate of these types of plastics in the environment.”
From curbing our dependence on plastic straws on campus to examining microplastic waste in the planet’s last wildernesses, the University is committed to tackling one of our greatest dependencies and biggest environmental threats: plastic.
You too can join #MyPlasticPledge. You can pledge to use a reusable water bottle, refuse plastic straws or make your own pledge. Simply visit www.hull.ac.uk/myplasticpledge