Microplastics – where, why, and how bad can they really be?

This presentation explores the latest thinking around the microplastic pollution that’s in the air we breathe and in our terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Where are these microplastics coming from, what is their impact on human health, wildlife and the wider environment, and what can facilities managers do to play their part in minimising this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ problem?

19 May 2021 07:00am
19 May 2021 08:30am
Member Cost
Non-Member Cost
$50 + GST
CPD Points
Event Type
National - Breakfast Seminar
Course Level
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Event Description

Most of us forget that it’s only 100 years since Bakelite, the first fully synthetic plastic, was invented by Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland in 1907. Since then, the world has produced roughly 8.3 billion tonnes of the stuff - enough to cover every inch of a country the size of the United Kingdom ankle-deep 10 times over.

Plastics of all size, in particular micro- and nanoplastics, are recognised globally as a significant environmental pollutant. Although single-use plastic packaging is often the focus of discussions around reducing microplastics pollution, it is the multiple-use plastics we use in all aspects of our lives, from our clothes to our cars - and all manner of items and materials in the facilities we manage - which may be contributing to a continuous source of microplastics to the environment through their general wear and tear.

Join us for the May Breakfast Seminar Series to find out the changes you can make to minimise microplastic pollution.

Register above. 

Dr Olga Pantos: Institute of Environmental Science and Research
Olga is a marine biologist with a passion for understanding the impacts of anthropogenic effects on ecosystems and organisms. After completing an undergraduate degree in Marine and Environmental Biology at the University of St Andrews, UK, she went on to do a PhD at the University of Newcastle, UK. Following that, Olga moved to San Diego State University in Southern California for two years, and then to the University of Queensland in Australia. She moved to New Zealand in 2015 and her research focus changed to looking at the impacts of microplastics, in particular how they affect microbial communities and ecosystem function. Together with Dr Grant Northcott, Olga now co-leads a 5-year MBIE Endeavour Fund project looking at the levels and impacts of microplastics on New Zealand's marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments.

Dr Grant Northcott: Northcott Research Consultants Ltd
Grant Northcott is an environmental and analytical chemist and expert on the fate and effects of organic contaminants in the environment. Grant completed his BSc in chemistry at Waikato University and PhD at the Institute of Environmental and Biological Science, Lancaster University, UK. He began his career working for NIWA in Hamilton before moving to the UK to complete his PhD, followed by a two-year postdoc project funded by Unilever. Grant returned to NZ in 2002 where he worked for HortResearch and subsequently, Plant and Food Research.  Since 2012 Grant has operated his own research consulting business. He leads the contaminant chemistry research within the 5-year MBIE Endeavour Funded Emerging Organic Contaminants research program, provides organic contaminant expertise in ESR’s Centre for Integrated Biowaste Research program.



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