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See us at COP27 in the Ocean Pavilion!

On 14 November 2022, in the Ocean Pavilion at COP27, there will be a session on
Ocean Microplastic Pollution: Links to climate, ecological impacts, and human health risks.
It has been organized by Microplastics@WHOI team member Hauke Kite-Powell.

Like CO2 emissions, the flow of plastic waste to the environment, especially the ocean, is an adverse side-effect of economic activity. Unlike CO2, the social cost of plastic pollution is not well understood and effective management require a better resolution of risks. This panel will focus on the current state of knowledge about plastic in the ocean, potential links to climate, and potential impacts on human and environmental health.

A Major Hidden Problem

Microplastics—tiny plastic fragments less than five millimeters in size—are ubiquitous in the global ocean. In fact, an estimated eight million tons of plastics enter our oceans each year, yet only one percent can be seen floating at the surface. Where the rest ends up is not well understood.

WHOI's Microplastics Initiative

The presence of microplastics and nanoplastics in the oceans is a worldwide concern. To help address this pressing problem, WHOI has launched an interdisciplinary research program to understand the fate and impacts of plastics in the marine environment. Our research is supported by both public and private sources and involves a diverse group of scientists, engineers, students, postdoctoral researchers, and science communicators. We invite you to explore these pages and contact any of the team members to inquire about opportunities to become involved in and support our research effort.

Recent News/Media

WHOI is embarking on a long-term, interdisciplinary investigation of marine microplastics to understand the fate of microplastics drifting through the ocean, gauge their impacts on marine life and human health, and engineer new technology solutions needed to push the science forward.

Support for Microplastics@WHOI

Help us investigate issues like microplastics in our ocean