Experts: Planet vs. Plastics | Earth Day 2024

Published: 19 April 2024

Every year, millions of people across the globe gather on Earth Day (April 22) to celebrate the environmental movement. The 2024 theme, "Planet vs. Plastics", aims to raise awareness of the harms of plastic pollution for human and planetary health. This year's focus comes ahead of an historic UN treaty on plastics, which is expected to be agreed by the end of 2024.  (BBC News

Here are some experts from McGill University who can comment on this topic: 

Parisa Ariya, James McGill Professor, Departments of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Chemistry 

“Humanity produces more than 350 million metric tons of plastic waste annually, affecting Earth's ecosystem. This major challenge must be addressed on multiple fronts. Our team at McGill has developed a novel technology allowing us to monitor nano and microplastics in real-time in various environments. This innovation enables us to quickly find areas with plastic buildup and understand what happens to plastic over time. Ultimately, this knowledge can help develop more targeted strategies for mitigating pollution.” 

Parisa Ariya is a James McGill Professor cross-appointed to the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Chemistry. A world leader in the study of bioaerosol transmission, her research explores major fundamental and applied research questions involving aerosols and gaseous and trace metal pollutants of relevance to the Earth's atmosphere and to human health. 

parisa.ariya [at] (English, French) 

Christopher Labos, Associate, Office for Science and Society   

“When dealing with nanoplastics and microplastics, it is clear that they are present in the environment, in the water supply and our food. It is also clear that you can detect traces of them in human tissue. But evidence that they cause disease in humans is still lacking, and the heterogeneity of the research data makes it unclear how much of a threat they pose. This challenge was detailed in the WHO’s 2022 report.” 

Christopher Labos is a cardiologist with a master’s degree in epidemiology and an associate with the Office for Science and Society. He is the co-host of the award-winning podcast The Body of Evidence and author of Does Coffee Cause Cancer?  

christopher.labos [at] (English, French)  

New research on sustainability from McGill University 

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