State of the Bays 2016 inspires an international effort to counter plastics pollution

Global Goals Jam 2017

Research published in the State of the Bays 2016 report gained international attention as a result of the United Nations Development Programme’s second annual Global Goals Jam. The Jam invited Melbournians with a broad range of expertise to design interventions in line with key Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The Particulars of Plastic, an examination of plastics in the oceans, inspired last weekend’s workshop hosted by RMIT. Nurdles, micro and macroplastics are a burgeoning threat to our marine environment but we still need to know more about the damage caused by these pollutants. What we do know is that plastics cause damage that directly conflicts with at least three of the 17 SDG’s;

  • 11 – sustainable cities & communities
  • 12 – responsible consumption & production, and
  • 14 –  life below water.

Applying real world solutions to the problem of plastic consumption is difficult, but participants at the Jam were rigorous in their approach, investigating methods of intervention at each stage of the life cycle. The contributions will be added to the 2017 Global Goals Jam report that will be presented to the United Nations in a few weeks’ time by MediaLab Amsterdam.

The global community of jammers were linked via social media updates, while the Melbourne office directly shared the experience with live streams from Japan. The online community acted as a source of inspiration for problem solving techniques. In all, 23 cities from North and Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia hosted a jam.

Researchers are aware that there’s a huge amount of plastic in the oceans, but are missing key data to properly understand its impact. The Commission continues to collaborate with researchers investigating the impact of microplastics and plastics pollution on our marine life.

The event was organised by RMIT University and led by Mark Watson.

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