Plastic Free July Science Night in Raglan
On July 17th, two APPA members presented at a science night for the public in Raglan as organized by the Whaingaroa Environment Centre. Dr Olga Pantos (based in Christchurch and an APPA committee member) presented, together with project partner Grant Northcott, about the occurrence and characteristics of microplastics and their cumulative impacts on the ecosystem. The pair has obtained significant funding from the NZ government to research microplastics in Aotearoa and, as part of this nationwide project, samples were taken from Wainamu beach. Next up was APPA member Laurent Lebreton (a Raglan resident), who spoke about research results from the Ocean Cleanup’s mega expedition in the North Pacific Gyre and how this has led to the current 2nd version of a large boom-like device to capture floating plastic at the water’s surface. Laurent also discussed other international projects he is currently collaborating on. More than 40 people attended the informational session and questions from the public ranged from: “Where do plastics in the great pacific garbage patch come from? to “How can we address (or prevent) the matter of microplastics in the upcoming consent review of our local wastewater management plan?”. Residents of Raglan are now even better equipped to address the plastic pollution threats to local marine life, including our beloved Maui dolphins.