Mechanical Engineering and IRES faculty member Dr. Amanda Giang is a guest on the Microplastics Podcast by UBC’s Cluster for Microplastics, Health and the Environment. In episode 3, she and Dr. Rashid Sumaila of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries discuss how interdisciplinary research is a necessity for informed policy making and how current students are pursuing interdisciplinary training to become better future leaders.
Dr. Giang and Dr. Sumaila are both members of the Microplastics Cluster, which brings together researchers from a variety of disciplines to encourage informed policy making on plastics pollution. An area of evolving concern, microplastics form when plastic waste breaks down and degrades into nanomaterials, which make their way into humans through the marine food chain. The impact of microplastics on human health is still uncertain but as they share attributes with pollutants we have already experienced, waiting too long to make policies could lead to irreversible consequences for the environment. Dr. Giang and Dr. Sumaila explore how research can inform policy development, including the need for an interdisciplinary approach, the process of how research information enters these policy decisions, the impact of young researchers, and using the concept of environmental justice to reframe policy decision making.