Defending the ocean for all life on Earth

The Workshop

The IPSO workshop was convened on 27 April 2016 at the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and was attended by Dr Craig Downs; Dr Heather Koldewey; Dr Dan Laffoley; Professor Alex Rogers; Dr Silvia Díaz Cruz; Dr Pete Wells.

The purpose of the workshop was to assess the likely risk posed by pollution arising from personal care products and to develop an action agenda to ensure that the issue is mainstreamed and receives attention in the coming years.

The workshop reviewed recent updates to the literature and re-confirmed that there is a significant threat posed by personal care products and that a multi-pronged approach would be needed to generate swift action. The participants agreed that the following work should be undertaken:

  • a scientific review paper of the existing literature for publication in peer review, leading to a series of supplementary papers which explore different perspectives such as the policy and legislative implications, solutions and actions;
  • identification of the ingredients about which there is sufficient literature to determine that they should not be released into the marine environment, to be supported by monographs;
  • communications and outreach to make decision- and policy-makers and ocean users aware of this threat and the action they can take to reduce it.

The scientists also identified that they have a responsibility as ocean users to adapt their own behaviour and to influence those around them, and so developed a Code of Conduct for use by scientists on expedition. This Code can be adopted by an individual using the ocean for work or for pleasure.

The findings of the workshop were taken to the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii in June 2016 and presented along with an overview of the problem. A film of the scientific presentation can be seen below: