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Intercultural Center (ICC), Room 302-P

37th and 0 St NW

Georgetown University

Washington, DC 20007

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Dr. Denise Hardesty will discuss the Ending Plastic Waste initiative and her work on environmental issues and pollution.

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Ocean plastic is a globally recognised environmental concern, with too much plastic ending up in our oceans. Plastic pollution is contaminating our land and seas, and challenging our industries and communities. 

Ending Plastic Waste aims to dramatically reduce pollution and landfill from plastic waste. We’re working across the supply chain, from creation of materials to disposal and recycling. The mission aims to deliver a 90 per cent decrease in unmanaged plastic arriving in Australia’s ocean by 2025.

The proposal is a supply chain focused ‘cradle to grave’ national effort and will bring together sensor development, machine learning and modelling with data from industry, retail, waste collection and disposal and citizens. Our integrated, multidisciplinary approach is tackling this complex challenge from multiple angles including supply chain logistics, data collection innovations and improving the value of plastic. We’re taking a circular approach to material design, use, repurpose and recycling whilst considering the social, economic and environmental costs and value of materials.

The Ending Plastic Waste mission proposal is a partnership between Oceans and Atmosphere, Energy, Land and Water, Data61 and Manufacturing Business Units, as well as a range of commercial, government and industry, and philanthropic partners.

Dr. Denise Hardesty is a principal research scientist for CSIRO’s Oceans and Atmosphere. A broadly trained ecologist, her work has taken her to all seven continents, studying everything from penguins in Antarctica to hornbills in West Africa, the rainforests of central and South America, and looking at plastic waste along the coastlines in Australia, Asia, North and South America and Africa. For the last decade her work has increasingly focused on plastic pollution, looking at impacts on wildlife such as seabirds, turtles and marine mammals, and examining the sources, drivers and distribution of mismanaged waste. Denise’s team takes a risk-based approach to addressing biodiversity impacts resulting from ingestion and entanglement, combining empirical evidence with model-based approaches. Her marine debris work also focuses on gear loss from fisheries, drivers for litter losses into the environment, impacts on communities and economies and waste policy effectiveness. She advocates for the role of science in underpinning policy and decision making, and has served as a scientific expert on a number of international panels. As recognition of the plastic pollution issue grows, Denise is increasingly asked to provide expert opinion on marine debris related matters to international and domestic governments, industry, fisheries and other stakeholders including the United Nations, G7 and G20 bodies, and the Convention on Biological Diversity, with the aim of to reducing this important transboundary issue. She believes strongly in the contribution of communities, having worked with more than 8,000 citizen scientists over the last few years to help tackle the plastic pollution problem.

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Intercultural Center (ICC), Room 302-P

37th and 0 St NW

Georgetown University

Washington, DC 20007

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