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Webinar: Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste

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Wednesday, 12 January 2022, 12:00

Wednesday, January 12, 2022. 12:00 PM. Webinar: Reckoning with the U.S. Role in Global Ocean Plastic Waste. Margaret Spring, Monterey Bay Aquarium; Jenna Jambeck, University of Georgia; Michelle Gierach, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Mary Donohue, University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program. Sponsored by NOAA’s National Ocean Service. More information here. Register here. (Requires Adobe Connect)

Abstract: This talk will provide an overview on the recently released National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report on ocean plastic. An estimated 8 million metric tons (MMT) of plastic waste enters the world's ocean each year - the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck of plastic waste into the ocean every minute. Plastic waste is now found in almost every marine habitat, from the ocean surface to deep sea sediments to the ocean's vast mid-water region, as well as the Great Lakes. This report responds to a request in the bipartisan Save Our Seas 2.0 Act for a scientific synthesis of the role of the United States both in contributing to and responding to global ocean plastic waste. The United States is a major producer of plastics and in 2016, generated more plastic waste by weight and per capita than any other nation. Although the U.S. solid waste management system is advanced, it is not sufficient to deter leakage into the environment. Reckoning with the U.S. Role In Global Ocean Plastic Waste calls for a national strategy by the end of 2022 to reduce the nation's contribution to global ocean plastic waste at every step - from production to its entry into the environment, including by substantially reducing U.S. solid waste generation. This report also recommends a nationally-coordinated and expanded monitoring system to track plastic pollution in order to understand the scales and sources of U.S. plastic waste, set reduction and management priorities, and measure progress.

- Margaret Spring is Chief Conservation and Science Officer at Monterey Bay Aquarium, with decades of experience in environmental law and policy. She oversees the Monterey Bay Aquarium's conservation, science, and markets programs, including Seafood Watch, and coordinates the aquarium's environmental sustainability initiatives.

- Dr. Mary Donohue serves as specialist faculty at the University of Hawai'i Sea Grant College Program where she conducts research, extension, communications, and program and project management. She also serves as affiliate faculty at the Environmental Sciences Graduate Program at Oregon State.

- Dr. Michelle Gierach is a senior scientist in the Water and Ecosystems Group at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Her research interests include analysis and application of multispectral and hyperspectral (otherwise referred to as imaging spectroscopy) airborne and spaceborne observations to study synoptic to decadal changes in the aquatic environment.

- Dr. Jenna Jambeck is a Georgia Athletic Association Distinguished Professor in Environmental Engineering in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia (UGA), Lead of the Center for Circular Materials Management and Circularity Informatics Lab in the New Materials Institute At the University of Georgia and a National Geographic Fellow.

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