Plastisphere Ep.9: The Discovery of Plastic Pollution

Plastic pollution seems to be a pretty new issue, right? In the past few years, the topic has been all over the media. But if you explore the history of science, it turns out the problem really isn’t all that new. Some scientists have been aware of plastic in the ocean for over half a century. So how was plastic pollution first discovered? And why didn’t we hear about it earlier? In this episode, Anja speaks to scientists who called attention to the problem long before it was widely discussed. What happened back then, and how did we get to where we are now? Ed Carpenter, Steve Rothstein, Elizabeth Venrick, Arne Holmström, Hans van Weenen, and Peter Ryan share their stories.


Music: Dorian Roy and Blue Dot Sessions
Cover art: Maren von Stockhausen
With: Adam Huggins, Mendel Skulski (Future Ecologies) and Terence Mickey (Memory Motel).
Sound credits: Yle Arkisto and Klankbeeld,, CC-BY-Attribution 3.0, Ingrid Pollet
Thanks to: Max Planck Institute for the History of Science and all the people who helped with this episode!







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