Eco ‘Lunch & Learn’ On Plastic Marine Debris

February 17, 2019

Bermuda Environmental Sustainability Taskforce [BEST] and the Bermuda College announced the fourth presentation in their series of Eco Lunch & Learns will be held on Thursday, February 28, 2019.

Dr. Robbie Smith, Curator of Bermuda’s Natural History Museum, will be discussing the results of a study of plastic marine debris conducted by the Bermuda Marine Debris Taskforce, from 2010-2016.

Using students and volunteers, the group, including Bermuda College, surveyed 4 beaches very frequently to assess how much plastic debris is stranding on our island. He will also talk about his work with his research students on microplastics in the Sargasso Sea, in our inshore waters and its impacts on our marine life.

Dr. Robbie Smith is a Bermudian scientist, who worked as a research assistant at BIOS [then BBSR] from 1979 to 1985. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia in 1990, conducting research on Bermuda’s coral reefs. He returned to Bermuda in 1990 as a Faculty member at BIOS and set up the Benthic Ecology Research Programme, focusing on the impacts of the Tyne’s Bay incinerator and other projects on the ecology of Bermuda’s coral reefs, seagrass beds and mangroves.

He also developed a series of coral-related projects in the Florida Keys. Dr. Smith left to work as Lecturer in Biology at Georgia State University in Atlanta from 2003 to 2009, and continued to work in the Florida Keys. He became the Curator of the Bermuda Natural History Museum in 2009 and began research on Bermuda’s land snails, the impacts of lionfish, deep coral reefs, the Sargassum community and our bait fishes, usually finding ways to incorporate graduate and undergraduate students and their thesis projects.

Kim Smith, Executive Director at BEST said ‘Anyone who walks along Bermuda’s shoreline has seen the quantity of plastic debris that gets washed-up. While a lot of it originates in Bermuda, we also get foreign fishing nets and other plastics circulating in the Atlantic Ocean littering the shore. It makes no sense to bury our heads in the sand; we must face the fact that we each need to do our part to influence the serious issue of marine debris.”

Amy Harvey, the Earth and Environmental Science lecturer at the Bermuda College, added, ‘As a society we have become addicted to plastics, in particular single use plastics that only get used for minutes. Unfortunately, these convenience-based products are causing a very inconvenient problem.

“Plastics are pervasive in our environment and are wreaking havoc on our marine environments and ending up in the food chain, potentially affecting seafood quality and our health. As a small island nation we need to be concerned about our precious marine environment which is critical for the sustainability of our country. Bermuda needs to be responsible and take a hard stand on single use plastics“.

BEST and Bermuda College invite the public to bring along their own lunch and learn more from Bermuda’s environmentalists on how you too can make a difference in addressing the environmental issues affecting Bermuda today. This is a free event and no registration is required. The event is held at the Bermuda College, in Room H100 from 1 to 2pm.

The Eco Lunch & Learn series resumes on the last Thursday of the month during February, March and April 2019. For more information, please visit BEST’s website.

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  1. Rocky5 says:

    Why no research in 2017 – 18 on the plastic s?