Students share ideas about how to tackle the problem of microplastics in the environment

Students to work together to explore solutions to the scourge of microplastics

Students to work together to explore solutions to the scourge of microplastics

Interprofessional Education Day to bring students from all UOW faculties together

Did you know that almost every species on earth is exposed to microplastics?

Those tiny specks of plastic, so small that they often can’t be seen by the naked eye, are found across the length and breadth of the food chain. They are in the air, in the soil, in the ocean, in the food we eat.

More than 70 students from the University of Wollongong (UOW) are taking part in a Science, Medicine and Health led Interprofessional Education Day on Tuesday (19 July) with the aim of working together and further developing transferable skills (communication, critical thinking and problem solving) to explore solutions to this wicked problem.

Undergraduate students from the disciplines of science, medical science, law, environmental engineering, geography, sustainable communities, and public health have been invited to take part in the day-long event, taking place on Wollongong’s campus.

There will be a follow up field day sampling microplastics at the beach to collect data for AUSMAP (Australian Microplastics Aassessment Project).

UOW Vice-Chancellor Professor Patricia M. Davidson will open the event. Professor Davidson said she was thrilled to see students coming together to brainstorm solutions to an issue that had far-reaching and urgent impacts for the planet and for humans.

“For more than two years, we haven’t been able to hold many of these sorts of events, where students can work collaboratively in person, rather than via a screen,” Professor Davidson said.

“This is such an important and urgent issue, and demands interdisciplinary perspectives. I can’t wait to see the creative solutions developed by our outstanding and passionate students.”

Students from all UOW faculties come together to explore solutions to the wicked problem of microplastics in the environment

Students from all faculties come together to explore solutions to the problem of microplastics in the environment. Pictures: Mark Newsham


Students will work in teams, from across UOW’s four faculties, to answer the overarching questions: How do we determine the effects of microplastics and reduce the impact of plastics on the environment and human health?

They will be encouraged to consider multiple perspectives – legal, scientific, economic, cultural, social, and political – as well as to think creatively and critically.

UOW researchers and industry partners, with expertise in the areas of ocean and food security, climate change, policy and textile production, will also contribute to the day.  

The Interprofessional Education Day aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In 2019, UOW became a signatory to the University Commitment to the SDGs and embedded the goals in our 2020 - 2025 Strategic Plan and KPIs.

As part of the event, students will have the opportunity to create networks and meet like-minded peers. 

There will be prizes for participants and catering available. The event will be held on the ground floor of the Science Teaching Facility at UOW, from 9.30am to 4.30pm.