PLASTICS AND ENVIRONMENT – FEATURE
French scientist François Galgani on current marine litter situation / Upcoming "PolyTalk 2018" speaker
At the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, the "PolyTalk 2018" (www.polytalk.eu) conference will take place in St Julian’s / Malta from 26 to 27 April 2018 (see Plasteurope.com of 17.01.2018). Organiser PlasticsEurope (Brussels / Belgium; www.plasticseurope.org) is continuing to establish new partnerships with stakeholders to tackle marine litter prevention around the world. International organisations, government officials, representatives from national environment ministries, NGOs, the plastics industry as well as the research community are invited to join in the debate. To get an idea of what to expect at the event in Malta, Plasteurope.com is featuring some statements from the attending speakers.

François Galgani is a project manager and marine litter scientist at French research institute Ifremer (Issy-les-Moulineaux; https://wwz.ifremer.fr). He coordinates and chairs several projects and groups, including chair of the European Commission DG ENV/MSCG technical group on marine litter.
What does the marine litter situation currently look like?
In the world ocean, about 8m t of plastics are entering every year, 5 trillion plastic particles are floating with regional differences in their distribution, and the Mediterranean Sea being the most affected area. More than 700 marine species are affected by litter, with up to 100% of turtles or birds having ingested litter in some areas, but there is evidence that the trophic transfer is limited for microplastics and still unknown for nanoplastics. Plastics are also a minor pathway for contaminants. However, the rafting of species at sea could be underestimated (long distance transport, pathogens, etc.). The presence of litter in the oceans is mainly due to mismanagement and consumers' behaviours. Rivers, run offs, extreme events, shipping, fishing aquaculture, tourism and individuals are the main initial sources to the oceans but the pathways are diffuse, then complex to manage. A better understanding of distribution, fluxes, fate and impact of plastics remains a key point to provide scientific and technical support to management measures.

François Galgani

Ifremer
French research institute Ifremer is a state-owned public industrial and commercial institute, under the joint supervision of the ministries of higher education and research and environment, energy and sea. It comprises five centres that cover one or more administrative regions (Atlantic, Brittany, Channel-North Sea, Mediterranean and Pacific) and 20 coastal stations, and it has six ships (three sea-going vessels), one manned submersible, two remotely operated vehicles as well as two autonomous underwater vehicles.

The institute works with the French scientific community as well as with partners from many countries. Ifremer has major international partnerships programmes, including in the US, Canada, Japan, China, Australia and Russia, and works on policies that involve the Mediterranean region.
18.04.2018 Plasteurope.com [239494-0]
Published on 18.04.2018

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