On Earth Day 2024, Ngā Ara Whetū partnered with Te Aka Mātauranga Matepukupuku, the Centre for Cancer Research, to discuss the ubiquitous presence of plastics in our environment, and the impact they are having to the land, sea, air, animals, and on our own health and well-being.

The transdisciplinary panel discussion featured Dr Joel Rindelaub (Chemical Sciences), Dr Samantha Ladewig (Marine Science), Assoc. Professor Anne Gasket (Biological Sciences), Assoc. Professor George Laking (Medical Oncology, Manutaki Haumanu Māori of Te Aka), and Dr Manuel Vallee (Sociology), moderated by Dr Maria Armoudian (Co-Executive Director of Ngā Ara Whetū).

Together, the panelists covered topics ranging from the chemical make-up of different plastics, the pollution that arises from their production, how they spread into our environments, and the health implications for us and other animals.

Questions from the audience led to a robust discussion regarding the politics of plastic consumption and what might be done to limit plastic waste and the spread of microplastics. E.g. increasing public transport to reduce microplastics spread by car tyre wear (TWP), which comprise up to 78% of the world’s oceanic microplastics!

Event photo

Panel speaker
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