Anja calls up Dr. Jenna Jambeck and Amy Brooks from the University of Georgia on a research trip in Vietnam. In many Asian countries, a booming economy is coupled with more people using throw-away items. Informal recyclers and waste pickers who have traditionally sorted the waste cannot keep up. But, like millions of people around the world, they depend on waste as a resource for their livelihoods. How can the systems be reformed without leaving the people behind? To find out, Anja calls Dr. Sonia Maria Dias, a garbologist from Brazil.
In this episode of the Plastisphere, Anja goes on a lab tour with Alexandra ter Halle from Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse. The chemist and her team were the first to detect nanoplastic in the open ocean – plastic so small that it is comparable in size to a virus. What do we know about these very tiny pieces, and how do researchers try to detect and understand them?
Music: Dorian Roy and Blue Dot Sessions sessions.blue/
Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen
Thanks to: Ines Blaesius, Luisa Beck, Tim Howard, Melanie Bergmann, Deborah Blum and the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT
In this introduction to the Plastisphere podcast, Anja takes the listener on a journey back in time, from a remote plastic beach on the Big Island of Hawaii to the factory of a big chemical producer making bioplastics. She shares what she has learned about the issue of plastic pollution in the past years.