Workshop will address plastic waste and marine debris


Workshop will address plastic waste and marine debris

Athens, Ga. – Plastic: Land to Sea Connections, a workshop on the problem of plastic waste in our oceans and what we can do about it, will take place at 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 in the University of Georgia Odum School of Ecology auditorium. The event will include a panel discussion featuring experts from UGA and the University of Florida followed by a poster session and reception. It is sponsored by UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, UGA River Basin Center, UGA department of marine sciences, UGA New Materials Institute and University of Florida Sea Grant. The event is free and open to all.

“Marine debris is a critical issue that is dramatically impacting our oceans and the organisms that inhabit them,” said Mark Risse, director of UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant. “Solutions to this issue will involve all changing the way we do things in the upland watersheds. The panelists we have assembled are working on the front lines to do the research, outreach, and education necessary to develop solutions that will work and we are excited to share them with communities that are interested.”

Panelists include Maia McGuire, Sea Grant extension agent at the University of Florida, who will discuss research and outreach efforts focused on microplastics; Jenna Jambeck, associate professor in the College of Engineering, who will talk about her Marine Debris Tracker mobile app that allows the public to report the location of litter and marine debris anywhere in the world; Branson Ritchie, research professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine and New Materials Institute, who will discuss the impacts of plastics on marine animals; and Katy Smith, water quality program coordinator for UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, who will cover effective outreach and education about plastic waste and marine debris.

The event was organized by Rebecca Atkins, a doctoral student studying marine and coastal ecology, in partnership with UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant as part of a community engagement course offered through the UGA Office of Service-Learning.

“Planning this workshop has been an exciting opportunity to bring together some of the brilliant minds and organizations dedicated to tackling the huge problem that plastic debris poses in our waterways,” said Atkins.

The poster session and reception will take place in the ecology lobby from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will feature posters by individuals and organizations including the UGA Office of Sustainability, Watershed UGA, UGA EcoReach, UGA Marine Extension and Georgia Sea Grant, the Upper Oconee Watershed Network and the Atlamaha Riverkeeper. Anyone interested in contributing a poster should contact Rebecca Atkins at by Nov. 10.