ELIYA M. BARON LOPEZ ‘21 Master of Arts in Marine Affairs

Photo by Beau Jones

“South Korea captures their marine debris from coastal areas, so they’re able to recycle and process that debris because they have sophisticated infrastructure in place.” According to Baron Lopez, the United States’ waste infrastructure is less than successful, especially when compared to other countries.

Baron Lopez believes now is the time to become involved in marine plastics research as there are new funding opportunities as governments and companies recognize the danger of plastics pollution. She also believes URI’s involvement will prove beneficial to global dialogues. “In other places, policy research on marine plastics is very minor, and I think centering policy work at URI on plastics could make URI a leader in the plastics dialogue,” she said. Baron Lopez noted that URI’s efforts in investing resources into the plastics issue are not going unnoticed. “We’re a small fish in a big pond, but we have made some really big splashes,” Baron Lopez said.

~Eliya M. Baron Lopez ’21

URI Initiative Plastics: Land to Sea SPRING | 2021 Page 47

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