AAU develops solutions to the problem of plastic pollution in the sea


A new Danish research centre is to develop solutions to the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean. Based at AAU and funded by the Velux Foundation, the centre joins Danish universities and disciplines to tackle one of the biggest environmental problems together.

The plastic in the oceans is a growing problem for both nature and human health. That is why a team of researchers from several Danish research institutions have now joined together to gain knowledge and develop solutions to the problem of plastic pollution. The collaboration is based at Aalborg University (AAU).

The MarinePlastic research centre has received DKK 20 million in funding from the Velux Foundation, and in addition to AAU, has been joined by the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), Roskilde University (RUC), Aarhus University (AU) and the National Museum. The different parties are each responsible for their own research, and the collaboration is coordinated by AAU’s Professor Jes Vollertsen, who leads the research centre.

- “Plastic pollution is a serious problem that requires action as quickly as possible. It is therefore crucial that we now unite our efforts across disciplines and institutions so that we can pool our knowledge, increase our understanding and propose solutions together”, says Jes Vollertsen from the Department of The Built Environment at AAU.

We must solve the problem of plastic pollution together

MarinePlastic will work on the problem of plastic pollution from multiple angles. Among other things, researchers will gather knowledge about the types, causes, extent, spread, degradation and environmental impact of plastic pollution. This covers everything from abandoned fishing nets and waste to microplastics and nanoplastics in the marine environment.

- “We need new knowledge, new technology and new policies if we are to solve the plastic problem before it becomes an environmental disaster. To do that, we need a better understanding of the problem. The ultimate goal is therefore to bring our knowledge into play for the benefit of the world by proposing technological and political solutions”, says Jes Vollertsen from the Department of The Built Environment at AAU.

Although MarinePlastic is fundamentally a research centre intended to publish scientific research, the project also has the goal of developing concrete solutions and beneficial measures in collaboration with decision makers.

Sustainable Development Goal 12Sustainable Development Goal 14