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.”
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.”
The new findings support research** from leading academics at the University of Hull that has found that increasing acidity levels within the world’s oceans has the potential to significantly disrupt the way marine life communicates, with yet unknown consequences for the ecosystem.
In another recent piece of research*** by the University, in partnership with Brunel University, microplastics and other debris were found in 100% of mussels sampled from around the UK coast, and those bought in supermarkets. Further, a study between the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey, has revealed that levels of microplastics accumulating in the Antarctic – previously thought to be relatively free from plastic pollution – are much worse than expected.
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.
To find out more about the impact of the University’s research, how you can make a difference by studying with us or joining us in our pledge to use less plastic.