Ocean pollution by plastic and other debris is a pressing environmental problem that has captured the attention of marine conservationists, activists, the media, and the general public.
While this problem is not new – plastic debris in the ocean was first reported in the 1970s – a rigorous scientific evaluation of the problem had been lagging behind the increasing attention from a diverse set of stakeholders.
This team of international experts helped usher in the scientific inquiry on marine debris. With expertise in oceanography, marine ecology, toxicology, waste management, and more, they have been synthesizing data to answer fundamental questions about the sources, amount, behavior, and impacts of human-made debris in the marine environment.
Their results are providing a much-needed scientific grounding that can inform the public, industry, policymakers, and scientists alike.
This project was supported by the Ocean Conservancy and former NCEAS Postdoctoral Researcher, Mark Browne.