SkeptiCaley 2016 Speaker Focus: Dr Christine Switzer
Plastic is not fantastic
Since its invention just over a hundred years ago, plastic has become ubiquitous in our daily lives. Plastic products have contributed greatly to our quality of life but they come with an environmental cost that threatens ecosystems at all levels. Researchers estimate that approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste enter the oceans every year. In this talk, Christine will illustrate common pathways that plastics follow into the environment; address perceptions and misperceptions about the life it leads once in the environment; and show how a marketing gimmick has made the situation worse.
To avoid 40 minutes of complete negativity, she will also present practical steps that individuals can take to reduce their contributions to the plastic waste burden and help advance the science that will allow us to develop lasting solutions.
Christine is a lecturer in environmental engineering at the University of Strathclyde. She is interested in understanding the mobility of contaminants in the environment and developing methods for remediation. A New Yorker by birth, she moved to Scotland 10 years ago as a Bush-era refugee. Her interest in plastic pollution in the marine environment began in 2009 with a project on pre-production plastic pellets (aka nurdles). Since that time, she has run annual nurdle hunts and litter surveys with her students documenting nurdle mobility in the Firth of Forth.