Our International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB) has met on 4 and 5 November, during its first webinar chaired by Yannick Lerat, the association’s scientific director.
The mission of the ISAB: placing scientific knowledge at the heart of The SeaCleaners’ actions.
Composed of 12 members, this “council of wise women and men” brings together researchers and scientists from various research institutes, universities and laboratories around the world, recognised by their peers.
PhDs in chemistry specialising in plastic materials and their repurpose, oceanographers, marine biologists, experts in satellite remote sensing or predictive modelling of waste slicks, toxicologists, plastisphere specialists…: together, they combine the knowledge essential to an exhaustive understanding of the phenomenon of marine plastic pollution, from its formation to its geolocation, via its characterisation, quantification and impact on ecosystems, biodiversity and human health.
The creation of the ISAB reflects The SeaCleaners’ desire to define its work orientations based on a rigorous scientific approach and relevant scientific data collected and validated by the best experts.
The ISAB’s opinions and recommendations will inform our strategic decisions in several areas:
- Drawing up and validating the roadmap of the association’s Scientific Hub.
- Validating our exploratory campaigns: which countries? which priority areas? at what time of the year? with which tools? according to which observation protocol?
- Preparing and parameterising the Manta’s missions so that its collection campaigns are as effective as possible.
- Defining the themes of the scientific missions on board the Manta, the boat being designed as a research platform capable of hosting 6 to 10 scientists.
- Providing expertise and support for the setting up of projects on priority thematic studies: location and characterisation of marine plastic waste deposits by satellite, aerial imagery, field observations, etc.
- Advising the association on the themes of the awareness campaigns to be conducted and the educational and involvement actions for the general public (Citizen Science).
The work of the ISAB, be it thematic seminars, conferences, study and monitoring reports, publications or cartographies, will be made available in Open Data.
They will be used to provide the international scientific community with knowledge on the major study themes concerning marine plastic pollution: how does plastic marine debris disperse at sea? How do they degrade? How are they colonised? What are the associated risks? So many questions for which there are only embryonic answers today.
At the end of the ISAB installation meeting, working groups have been set up on the location of plastic waste slicks and on the selection of priority intervention zones.
This is an important step forward for The SeaCleaners, making the scientific perspective one of the driving forces behind its commitment against plastic pollution.