The Plastic Detective: Investigating Human’s Waste Footprint from the Ocean to Earth’s Orbit with Imogen Napper

Sep 14, 2023  09:00 - 09:45

(GMT -4:00) Eastern Time

Event URL:
Hosted by: Exploring By The Seat of Your Pants

Dr. Imogen Napper is a Marine Scientist and National Geographic Explorer. Growing up in a seaside town, she began noticing the increasing plastic contamination on her local beaches. Driven by curiosity to understand why, she was eager to be part of the solution. Now described as a ‘Plastic Detective,’ her research investigates sources of plastic pollution in the environment. She received a PhD from the University of Plymouth and her work influenced the international ban on microbeads in cosmetics, where she found up to 3 million plastic beads could be in a facial scrub bottle. Imogen also produced the first research piece that analyzed fabric types (such as polyester) to understand how plastic fibers come off clothes during washing—this could be more than 700,000 fibers from a single wash. In fieldwork, Imogen was a scientist on the National Geographic ‘Sea to Source; Ganges Expedition’, estimating up to 3 billion microplastics could be discharged into the ocean from a major river system daily. She led microplastic research for the National Geographic ‘Perpetual Planet’ Everest expedition, finding the highest microplastics recorded near the summit, likely shed from climbers’ clothes.

< Go back
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • LinkedIn