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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Beat Plastic Pollution

DANGEROUS ENTANGLEMENT: Plastic waste is littering the oceans, threatening the lives of millions of marine animals. DANGEROUS ENTANGLEMENT: Plastic waste is littering the oceans, threatening the lives of millions of marine animals.

CPUT is planning a series of events between World Environment Day and World Oceans Day to raise awareness about the effects of plastic pollution. 

The theme for this year’s World Environment Day on 5 June is Beat Plastic Pollution and for World Oceans Day on 8 June, it is about preventing plastic pollution.

Extended Curriculum Programme Coordinator in the Faculty of Applied Sciences Beatrice Opeolu drives activities to create awareness around climate change and the environment as the leader of the Climate Change and Environmental Research Focus Area.

 “There is strong evidence now that plastic is everywhere, in the water we drink, in river systems, in the oceans. Studies have also proved that plastics of different sizes and different types cause different kinds of ecological imbalances in the environment at large,” said Opeolu.

The first event is a day-long symposium on 5 June at the Science Building on the District Six Campus. Themed Beat Plastic Pollution, the symposium will feature six speakers talking about various effects of plastic pollution.

Renowned toxicologist Prof Augustine Arukwe from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, will talk about endocrine disruptive effects of plastic-derived contaminants.

CPUT’s Oceans Research Chair Prof Ken Findlay will give a glimpse into plastic pollution and marine animal entanglements and mortalities while Aaniya Omardien of The Beach Cooperative will talk about beach clean-ups.

Prof Jonathan Okonkwo of the Tshwane University of Technology, Nitasha Baijnath-Pillay of the Department of Environmental Affairs and North-West University doctoral student Karin Minnaar round out the programme.

The next day,  6 June, between 11 am to 1 pm, CPUT students and staff are invited to take part in an effort to clean up the precinct around the District Six Campus.

Thursday 7 June, between 11 am to 1 pm, is set aside for invited guests to meet CPUT researchers, lecturers and students. “They will be based at the Applied Sciences Faculty to meet anyone from the institution who wants to work with them or just network,” said Opeolu.

On Friday 8 June, Arukwe will deliver a public lecture at the Saretec building on Bellville Campus followed by a panel discussion, between 12 am and 2 pm. The public lecture is titled “Plasticomponents as significant sourcfoenvironmentaobesogens: A societaconcerfor humaanwildlifhealth.”

“After the lecture, all of the colleagues we invited for the symposium, except for Aaniyah Omardien who will not be available, will sit in a panel discussion and chat about plastic pollution and plastic issues.

“The audience will have the opportunity to ask them questions and to contribute to the discussion,” said Opeolu.  

Find the World Environment Day & Oceans Day programme here.

Written by Theresa Smith

Email: smitht@cput.ac.za

Provides coverage for the Applied Sciences and Engineering Faculties and the Wellington Campus.