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We will delve into the world of plastic and its impact tonight! We commence our event with a unique look at the Galapagos and how Mangrove forests are highlighting the way plastic is threatening the environment. All before we deep dive into the intimate world of microplastics and their pathways through sewerage systems and wastewater treatment works. We will conclude by discovering the fascinating world of diverse polymicrobial biofilms and the way in which bacteria may affect our 'One Health' sectors.
Plastic vs the Galapagos
The unique Galapagos Islands are vulnerable to the impacts of plastic and chemical pollution. Mangrove ecosystems are particularly threatened, acting as plastic sinks, with items such as fishing ropes getting tangled in the branches and roots. Rapid, low cost, long-term monitoring tools are needed to determine contamination levels and sources, impacts on wildlife, as well as the effectiveness of solutions. Circular Economy might offer options to reduce plastic waste by increasing the lifespan of materials to keep them in use and prevent them from entering landfill and the environment.
Microplastics in wastewater treatment works; from Home to Stream
Daisy Harley-Nyang (PhD student)
Microplastics from your home could end up in rivers and fields. Microplastics enter the sewerage system via your washing machine, shower/sink, washed into drains from road surfaces or from industry. After passing through a wastewater treatment works, the microplastics can enter the aquatic environment. Microplastics removed from wastewater during treatment can be retained in the sewage sludge. Once treated, sludge is used as a fertiliser on agricultural fields. We will explore microplastics: where they come from and what happens to them when they enter wastewater treatment works.
Hitchhikers Guide to the Plastisphere
Microplastics are the most prevalent type of plastic pollutant in the aquatic environment and far exceed the persistence and transport capabilities of natural substrates. When present, microplastics become colonised by diverse polymicrobial biofilms, also known as the ‘Plastisphere’. Microplastic associated communities act as an important platform for antimicrobial resistant (AMR) bacteria and there are concerns that plastic particles may enrich and disseminate AMR pathogens. In this talk, I will explain why this may have significant consequences across all ‘One Health’ sectors.
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