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Drastic Plastic

Lauren Blickely (right) at work

“Five trillion plastic pieces are currently floating in the ocean,” says marine scientist Lauren Blickely. “Scientists estimate that plastics will outweigh fish in the next 30 years.”

The Hawaii-based researcher presents two “Drastic Plastic – Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution” programs at J.N. “Ding’ Darling National Wildlife Refuge on Sanibel Island on Friday, March 29, at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. — part of the 2019 “Ding” Darling Friday Lecture series.

“Recent research indicates that plastic is present in bottled water, sea salt, and even beer!” says Blickley. “Though the negative environmental impacts of plastic have been studied since the 1980s, the global consumption of plastic goods continues to increase each year.”

Blickely’s lecture explores the impact of plastic on our lives and actionable steps we can take to decrease our personal plastic footprints. She combines science with advocacy, which helped lead the passage of local policies to outlaw plastic bags and Styrofoam take-out containers on Maui. Her current research is aimed at evaluating the effectiveness of single-use plastic policies such as bans against plastic bags and straws.

Published in Marine Pollution Bulletin, Blickely has led to a better understanding of environmental factors that influence plastic pollution on Maui coastlines. She is a member of the Hawaii Marine Debris Action Plan committee and chaired sessions at the sixth International Marine Debris Conference.

Lectures take place in the admission-free “Ding” Darling Visitor & Education Center.  Seating for the lectures is limited and available on a first-come basis. Early arrivals can save their seat and one extra with personal items and then can explore the Visitor & Education Center or Indigo Trail before the lecture starts. Saved seats must be filled 15 minutes before lecture time or they will be assigned to the people waiting next in line.

For more information, call 239-472-1100 ext. 241 or log on to


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