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Plastic pollution under the spotlight at talk this week

Plastic pollution is the topic of a lunchtime presentation this week (File photograph)

The dangers of plastic pollution will be discussed at a special presentation this week.

The talk, The Perils of Plastic Pollution, will examine the human and environmental costs associated with plastic use and disposal and was organised by the Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce and Bermuda College.

Jennifer Flood, BEST’s education team leader, said: “Plastic pollution stretches from the highest peaks to the depths of the ocean abysses, from city centres to isolated oceanic atolls.

“Microplastics are found in the soil, air and waterways, large and small plastics are found in the intestines and organs of crippled, starved fish, oceanic mammals, birds and now in us.

“Evidence has been rapidly accumulating of the harm plastics, large and small, along with the chemicals used in them, have been doing to other animals throughout the planet.”

She added: “Research is now showing the alarming effects on human beings.”

The discussion is the fourth in a series of virtual Eco Lunch and Learn presentations and will be held on Thursday between 1pm and 2pm.

The presentation will feature a panel of experts, including Robbie Smith, a scientist and curator of Bermuda’s Natural History Museum, Eugene Dean, the executive director of Greenrock, Erich Hetzel, the BEST plastic pollution team leader and Zahria Furbert, a Bermuda College student.

Dr Smith became the curator of the Bermuda Natural History Museum in 2009.

He led a study of plastic marine debris by the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce, which ran from 2010 to 2016 and surveyed four beaches to assess the amount of plastic debris washed ashore.

Dr Smith’s talk will include the results of his research on microplastics in the Sargasso Sea and Bermuda’s inshore waters and its effects on marine life.

He will also outline the principles of single-use plastic legislation.

Mr Dean has worked to make Bermuda more socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Mr Hetzel has a Master's in Marine and Estuarine Environmental Science from The University of Maryland, and he is a specialist in marine toxicology.

Ms Furbert is studying for an Associate’s Degree in Art and Science.

Her aim it to complete a Bachelor’s in public health with a minor in environmental science.

She will examine single-use plastic in Bermuda and said she hoped to find to find “better solutions”.

Amy Harvey, the earth and environmental science lecturer at Bermuda College, said: "For the past decade, my students and I have conducted numerous beach surveys in both the fall and winter months and discovered a similar story across both private and public beaches.

“It is the unfortunate story of plastic pollution and more specifically micro plastic pollution.

“There was a standout survey whereby in less than thirty minutes we collected over 2,000 pieces of micro plastics.

“These tiny pieces of plastic cause immense harm to the health of marine organisms and ourselves.

“It is not a problem we can ignore as a community. It will take local and global initiatives to tackle it.

“Individual efforts will also be crucial. Reducing our dependence on single-use plastics and seeking alternative options are simple first steps that everyone can do.”

The presentation, which is free and does not need registration, will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

People can submit questions through the chat options on YouTube and Facebook.

Access to the presentation is available at facebook.com/TheBermudaCollege or at the Bermuda College YouTube page.

You must be registered or signed-in to post comment or to vote.

Published April 26, 2021 at 1:02 pm (Updated April 26, 2021 at 1:03 pm)

Plastic pollution under the spotlight at talk this week

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