Marine litter is a global problem that affects every ocean of the world. Litter is an environmental, human health and socio-economic problem that is a symptom of a highly disposable society. With worldwide growth in the amount of solid litter thrown away every day and slow rates of degradation, the amount of litter present in the marine environment is increasing.
Article 'Microplastics in the Belgian North Sea' in June 2016 in NATUUR.FOCUS
Schnitzler N., Van Belleghem F. & Löhr A. 2016. Microplastics in the Belgian North Sea. An emerging threat for the marine fauna and ecosystems? Natuur.focus 15(2): 67-73 [in Dutch; with an English summary]
Project The Ocean Cleanup launches prototype in the North Sea
Dutchman Boyan Slat's (21) project foundation The Ocean Cleanup raised enough funding to launch a prototype test in the North Sea, the foundation announced on 22 June 2016.
Slat's design consists of long floating barriers that act as an artificial coastline that passively collects and concentrates ocean trash. It is powered by the ocean's natural currents. The North Sea prototype is the first time the design will be tested at sea. The prototype spans 100 meters. It will be launched in the North Sea, 23 kilometers of the coast of Scheveningen harbor, The Hague. The prototype will spend one year in the water, with the objective to test and analyze how the floating barrier segment holds up in the water and weather conditions. The ultimate goal is to deploy a 100 kilometer long structure between Hawaii and California by 2020. According to the foundation's analysis, this structure will be able to clean up about half of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in a decade.
'Boyan Slat proves that innovations for tackling environmental problems and entrepreneurship go well together. The Dutch government therefore shows its full commitment by giving this financial contribution to the Ocean Cleanup's prototype.' State Secretary Sharon Dijksma of Infrastructure and Environment said.
Massive Open Online Course on Marine Litter
In October 2015 the launch of the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Marine Litter took place. The Open University of the Netherlands developed the MOOC in cooperation with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). More then 6.000 students joined the MOOC and they developed more than 100 action plans to combat Marine Litter throughout the world. Interested to attend the course? You will find informations on this page in the summer of 2016. Are you active on Facebook? You can always join the Facebook community.
Praise for the master thesis Microplastics in the rivers Meuse and Rhine
Fall 2015 Wilco Urgent defended his thesis about Microplastics in the rivers Meuse and Rhine. This thesis was awarded with the prize for the best science resarch from members of the science community at the Open Universiteit Eureka! Festival. 29 November 2015 Ansje Löhr presented at the Eureka! Festival in Amsterdam within the context of the Dutch National Research Agenda 'Plastics in the environment address worldwide'.
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016
Midst April 2016 we participated in this conference in Vienna with the presentation of a global modeling approach River export of plastic from land to sea.
Festival for Ocean Awareness
An informal event in Utrecht at 27th May 2016. With a sound mix of food, fun and information. Dr. Ansje Löhr is one of the members of the symposium.