CAMBRIDGE, MA—Microplastic particles have been found throughout the world’s oceans and other aquatic habitats. These particles attract pollutants and contaminants, and they have been found in animals.
Fixing the problem won’t be easy, but research is already underway to better understand the challenge. On a recent voyage to Tern Island, scientists from Draper and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency worked together to observe and measure microplastics in the ocean firsthand.
“Experiences from this voyage are helping us to design an on-site, real-time microplastics sensing system,” said Louis Kratchman, a research engineer at Draper. Dr. Kratchman will present observations of his voyage Oct. 4 at Draper in a workshop titled, “Microplastics: A Path Forward to Action.” Scheduled to attend are representatives from consumer packaged goods companies, ocean and river conservation groups, research institutions, engineering firms and the U.S. government.
Sheila Hemami, director of strategic technical opportunities at Draper, said the goal of the workshop “is to provide an accurate, scientifically rigorous and straightforward overview of the problem ecosystem, from plastic solid waste management, to microplastic origin and lifecycle, and finally to health implications.”
The inaugural step in this work has been enabled by the Wallace Research Foundation, which Draper announced in August.