Online roundtable: An Abyss of Plastic Wisdom, A Solutions-Oriented Dialogue | UN Ocean Decade Laboratories “A Clean Ocean”

An Abyss of Plastic Wisdom, A Solutions-Oriented Dialogue | A round table by The SeaCleaners | UN Ocean Decade Laboratories "A Clean Ocean"


Event time : Friday 19 November 2021
Time : 11:00am-1:00pm (Central European Time)

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The First Global Planning Meeting of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development highlighted the need for a whole of society approach to reverse the ocean health decline and to improve conditions for its sustainable development.

This roundtable aims to strengthen the dialogue between a diverse set of actors, showcase actions that are already taken to counter plastic proliferation, and go beyond those current actions.

Representatives of academia (macro- and micro- plastic research, remote sensing research), policy makers, science policy specialist, NGOs, industry, media and citizen scientists will exchange on each expertise to work together and identify science-based solutions, technology-based solutions, and shift how we see plastics and its value chain.

Invited speakers

Macro plastic research 
Dr. Tim van Emmerik

Assistant Professor Hydrologic Sensing
Wageningen University & Research, The Netherlands

Tim van Emmerik is Assistant Professor Hydrologic Sensing at Wageningen University (WU), the Netherlands. His work focuses on monitoring and modeling plastic pollution transport in river systems across scales. Before joining WU he worked at Delft University of Technology, The Ocean Cleanup, and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions. Tim is passionate about analogue photography, and data collection in strange places. 

Bhargavi Mantha 

Head of Community
Litterati, Canada 

Bhargavi Mantha is the Head of Community at Litterati where she works closely with members who are documenting the world’s waste. She also works on project managing individuals turned citizen scientists using a scientific methodology to collect the best litter data possible. She is also a Citizen Scientist working on empowering others for the same. She holds a Masters in Market Research and Consumer Behavior and a Masters in Management from the IE Business School in Spain. She likes to think of herself as user obsessed and data-informed and also helps in product design. Bhargavi has a passion for public speaking and utilizes these skills to support and hone the Litterati Community.

Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache

Founder and director
Era Environment, Comoros

Houmi Ahamed-Mikidache is the founder and director of Era Environnement, a media  based in the Comoros. Born in France and trained in investigative journalism in South Africa, Houmi has been an expert in the field of climate change and sustainable development since 2008. She has a degree in communication (France – Paris XIII) and a master’s degree in journalism (South Africa – Rhodes University). A former contributor to Irin News, TV5 Monde, Anadolu Agency, IC Publications, Jeune Afrique and the French weekly magazine Le Point, Houmi has been covering the negotiations of the United Nations Climate Change Conferences since the COP 14 in Poznan (Poland). She is also an expert trainer and leads a team of young African journalists, in addition to experienced journalists.  She is a member of several networks of specialised journalists such as the Association of Environmental Journalists (AJE), Journalists for Nature and Ecology (JNE) and the African Environmental Journalists Network (ANEJ). She is also a member of the National Union of Comorian Journalists.

Policy Maker
Alena Petrikovicova

Policy Officer – Marine litter
European Commission, Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

Alena Petrikovicova is a Policy Officer in charge of marine litter file at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, working in the Unit on Maritime Innovation, Marine Knowledge and Investments. She has been involved in the preparations and negotiations of the Single-Use Plastics and Port Reception Facilities Directives and is currently following their implementation in practice, in close cooperation with Member States and all relevant stakeholders. Other aspects of Alena’s work include policy guidance to EU projects on marine pollution, work on the recycling of end-of-life recreational boats, pollution from lost containers or development of the circular design of fishing gear to encourage re-use and recycling at the end-of-life.

Remote Sensing
Dr. Marc Lucas 

Senior Oceanographer & Project Manager
CLS Groupe (Collecte Localisation Satellites), France 

Dr. Marc Lucas is a senior oceanographer at CLS. He holds a BSc in ocean Science from the University of Plymouth UK, an MSc in Oceanography, and a PhD in Physical Oceanography both from the University of Southampton, UK. After 3 post Docs in France and Germany mostly focused on numerical modelling, he joined the CLS team dedicated to providing metocean services for Offshore Energy.  This involved working on the use and interpretation of combined Satellite In Situ and numerical model data. He then joined the environmental downstream application unit focusing on issues such as sargassum invasion and marine plastic. In his current position, he also supervises innovative project focusing on Earth Observation data and the acquisition of high quality in situ data for satellite applications. 

Indonesian NGO
Kevin F. Handojo 

Team Leader, Surabaya,
Bye Bye Plastic Bags, Indonesia 

Kevin is a spirited young leader managing multiple organizations and volunteering events. Leading a Bye Bye Plastic Bags team in Surabaya driven by young activists and global leaders striving to achieve sustainable living, Kevin is an aspiring changemaker seeking new experience and deeper understanding in international relations and global issues. 

François Galgani 

Project Manager
IFREMER, France 

Francois Galgani is project manager at IFREMER and board member of the EU mission “Oceans” from the EU commission. He is chairing a technical / scientific group of 115 experts to support the implementation of marine litter monitoring in Europe, chairing the IOC/ GESAMP group on plastic pollution (2017-2021), and members of many international groups (UN / UNEA / Science Advisory Committee, G7 and G20 technical groups, experts’ groups of the OSPAR and Barcelona Conventions). 

Science-policy interface
Dr. Britta Denise Hardesty 

Senior Research Scientist
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere, Australia 

Dr Denise Hardesty is a globally recognized scientist focusing on plastic pollution.  A broadly trained ecologist, her current work focuses on plastic pollution and marine monitoring & surveillance to reduce illegal fishing. Denise’s team takes a risk-based approach to address plastic impacts on wildlife, people and economies. Her work also focuses on drivers for litter losses into the environment, how to identify and implement effective policies to reduce plastic entering the environment, and gear loss from fisheries. She promotes the role of science in underpinning policy and decision-making, and regularly provides science advice to governments and international panels.  She believes strongly in citizen science, having worked with more than 8,000 volunteers to help tackle global challenges.  

Luc Desoutter 

Sustainability Officer,
Sidel, France 

Holding a Master Degree in Engineering from ICAM in Lille (France), and after spending 16 month at the sea in the French Navy, Luc started his career in 1987 at a global supplier of automotive equipment. He joined SIDEL 28 years ago, covering many positions in new technology & product developments, packaging and process development. Throughout his career, Luc has managed aspects of sustainability including PET related issues and carbon footprint impact. He was appointed as SIDEL’s Sustainability officer in 2018. His main mission is to help define and consistently drive sustainability agenda across SIDEL business interacting with key internal and external stakeholders. He is also contributing to SIDEL CSR approach. 

Organizers – The SeaCleaners

Gwenaële Coat 

Scientific Director
The SeaCleaners, France 

Gwen studied biological oceanography (primary productors) and described a new species of algae Ulva armoricana, responsible for green algae blooms off the coast of Brittany. Still passionate for science but not the laboratory life, she earned an MA in Scientific Communication Studies where she confirmed her special interest in providing the necessary information to both decision-makers and the public for evidence-based decision making. After a few years at the CNRS headquarters in the Communication Department in Paris she flew to the United States where she spent nearly 20 years. She devoted her time to aspects and issues of international scientific collaboration from biosecurity to conservation biology. At the end of 2020, the need to return to her roots pushed her return to France, where she became the Scientific Director of The SeaCleaners in 2021. 


Elise d’Epenoux

Head of International Communication
The SeaCleaners, France 

Reporter for RFI in Africa, Elise was a journalist for AFP (Agence France-Presse) for more than 12 years. Then she worked for 2 years as a communication officer, editorial manager and writer for the UNFCCC (the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and has notably worked for the COP23 and COP24. Since June 2021 she is the Head of International Communication for the SeaCleaners where she is developing and deploying the international communications strategy.