10 September, 2018 News stories

An international workshop to tackle the global plastic waste problem takes place at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) Aurora Innovation Centre next week.

People, Plastics and our Planet (18-21 September 2018) offers the unique opportunity for scientists and entrepreneurs to spend four days developing and testing ideas to address challenges posed by plastics in our environment.

A seal entangled in plastic netting on Bird Island

Co-organised by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), Cambridge University and Value in Enterprise, cross-disciplinary teams including delegates from Sudan, Malaysia, Russia and UK will develop interventions that are suitable to take their innovation forward – supported by expert mentors. That could be a business venture, a social venture, an impact project, or a new experiment.

The most developed idea will be pitched at an investors’ day organised by Cambridge Cleantech in London later this year: Cleantech Venture Day http://www.cleantechday.com/london/.

This workshop follows two related previous events earlier this year at the Aurora Innovation Centre – Circular Economy in Practice and Plastics in the Ocean.

The issue of plastics in the polar regions is an important area of research for scientists at BAS. An estimated 75% of all the litter in our oceans is plastic, and around 5 million tonnes of plastic waste enter the ocean annually. Observations of a significant concentration of plastics debris in both polar oceans indicate that plastic pollution is a global problem.  The impacts of this debris on the sensitive polar ecosystem could be profound.

This event is being supported by Thames Water and the British High Commission through sponsorship of international delegates.

Opened in July 2017 by Science Minister Jo Johnson, and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council, the Aurora Innovation Centre aims to generate new academic, business and policy partnerships that focus on excellent research and entrepreneurial activity in the areas of climate change, environmental stewardship and technologies for challenging environments.

For more information see https://www.bas.ac.uk/polar-operations/sites-and-facilities/facility/cambridge-hq/aurora-cambridge/

The Aurora Innovation Centre at the Cambridge HQ of British Antarctic Survey.