Hannah Lightley, final-year Marine Biology student at the University of Hull, said: “My studies have really highlighted the challenges many marine species are facing due to increased plastic pollution. Being able to understand the science behind the problem coupled with physically seeing first-hand the effect plastic is having on the marine environment has increased my drive to take action and to try and encourage others to change behaviours. Small changes such as refusing plastic straws, choosing to buy plastic free products, recycling and getting involved with beach cleans, can all have a major positive impact on reducing plastic waste and ultimately improving the marine environment.”
Professor Dan Parsons, Director of the University of Hull’s Energy and Environment Institute, said: “The world is waking up to the negative impact that plastic pollution in particular is having on the marine environment. However, there is still a lack of awareness about what is happening beneath the surface of the water, which is why we felt it was important to give a voice to the marine life unable to speak out about the challenges they face.
“For example, rising levels of acidity in our oceans is having a huge impact on marine life - comparable to a world without light and sound for us human beings - by disrupting the way that they communicate. Unless we take rapid action, the consequences for the marine ecosystem could be devastating.”
Professor Parsons, who was recently appointed by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) as chair of a scoping group for research into tackling the mounting global issue of plastic pollution in the environment, added: “Likewise, the tiny pieces of plastic that are making their way into our rivers and oceans are not only polluting our marine environment but are also entering our food chain. Marine pollution is a global challenge and now is the time to take this interest and concern and turn it into concerted action.
“At the University of Hull, we’re rising to the challenge through our #DelveDeeper campaign which aims to highlight and help solve some of these major issues through our research and teaching in order to make a difference.”
The new findings support research from leading academics at the University of Hull:
Dr Chris Tuckett, Director of Programmes at the Marine Conservation Society says the campaign is both eye-catching and eye-opening. "The University has creatively done something to raise awareness about a vital issue, while at the same time revealing important findings. The research shows that people care about the challenges that marine life faces, and the potential negative ramifications for future human generations, we hope this initiative raises vital awareness and encourages others, including policymakers, to take meaningful action.”
The picket, made entirely from reclaimed materials, will be recycled following the end of the protest.