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Is Microplastic Pollution Really a Major Risk to the Environment?

Tuesday 28 January 2020
Lecture is in English. Entrance: Special Guest Card, entrance ticket, Friend of the Museum
Rijksmuseum Boerhaave
Lange Sint Agnietenstraat 10
2312 WC Leiden
Einstein room

Rijksmuseum Boerhaave and the Lorentz Center together organize a public lecture about plastic pollution, by Thijs Bosker.

Is microplastic pollution really a major risk to the environment?
Plastic is found everywhere in our environment, ranging from large pieces of macroplastics to smaller particles, such as nano- (<100 nm) and microplastics (>100 nm and <5 mm). This has caused significant societal concerns, and ongoing media attention. But what are the actual risks of plastics in the environment? Should there really be this much emphasis on plastic pollution, or is it distracting from other, more pressing environmental issues?

During this lecture Thijs Bosker will discuss how environmental scientists assess the risk of plastic pollution, with a focus on microplastics. He will use examples from his own research  (which includes a citizen science project) to illustrate how the distribution of plastic, and the uptake and effects on organisms (from whales to water fleas) are determined, and what we currently now about the risks of microplastics.

Based on this information, Bosker will position the risk on plastic pollution in relation to other key environmental threats, and highlight why environmental issues are so difficult to tackle. Finally, he will open up the floor for a discussion with the audience on this issue.

This lecture is part of the workshop 
Science Based Rules on Plastic: Regulating Plastic Pollution, that takes place at the Lorentz Center from 27 – 31 January 2020.


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