Each year, the equivalent of 310,000 shipping containers filled with plastic is dumped into our oceans and seas. The consequences are dramatic. “Our oceans are in danger,” said European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, at the #OurOcean conference in Malta last year. “By 2050, they could contain more plastic than fish.”
While people are the cause of plastic marine pollution, they can also be the solution. The Ocean Plastics Lab is an international outdoor travelling exhibition, showcasing the contribution of science to understand and combat the problem of plastics in the ocean. After Paris, Turin and Brussels, the Ocean Plastics Lab opens on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., from June 4 through 17. Admission is free. Visitors of all ages are invited to enter four shipping containers to gain an insight into current international research on marine pollution, and are encouraged to engage on scientific work in progress around the world. The exhibit brings attention to the global problem of ocean plastic pollution and highlights science-based solutions.
As they walk through the exhibit, visitors will see the waste from ocean plastics and marine debris, explore how science is detecting its impacts on marine life and ocean health, and learn about efforts to build long-term solutions.
The Ocean Plastics Lab’s visit to Washington’s National Mall is also an example of the growing collaboration on ocean science between the United States and the European Union.
Ocean Plastics Lab
Where: Washington National Mall: Between the National Museum of Natural History and Smithsonian Castle, at the level of 10th Street, NW near Jefferson Drive, SW.
Nearest Metro: Smithsonian Station-National Mall.
When: June 4 – 17, open daily from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The Ocean Plastics Lab was created by the German Marine Research Consortium and supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the European Commission. It began its international tour of science, education and outreach in Turin, Italy and Paris, France in 2017. With the support of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation, in 2018, the lab has visited Brussels and now makes its first transatlantic visit to Washington, D.C. as part of the celebration of 20 years of the EU-US Science and Technology Cooperation Agreement, and five years of EU-US marine research cooperation.
The Ocean Plastics Lab in Washington D.C. is a joint effort of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the European Commission, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the German Marine Research Consortium, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership, the National Park Service, the U.S. Department of State, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation in collaboration with Capitol Hill Ocean Week, World Oceans Day, the United Nations Environment Program, the Smithsonian Institution, and The Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Project.
For more information on the EU’s efforts to tackle marine pollution by plastics, see: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/waste/plastic_waste.htm
For more on International and EU-U.S. Cooperation, please see: http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm (EU International S&T cooperation)
http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/index.cfm?amp;pg=usa (EU-US S&T Cooperation)
http://ec.europa.eu/research/iscp/pdf/galway_statement_atlantic_ocean_cooperation.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none (EU-US-CA Galway Statement on Atlantic Ocean Cooperation)