EnviroPlaNet Thematic Network is an interdisciplinary project coordinating fifteen Spanish research teams working on issues related to the contamination by plastic debris. One of these teams is composed of members of the membrane technology and ecotoxicology groups of IMDEA Water.
The objective of this network is to improve coordination in critical key aspects such as the definition of sampling procedures, sample analysis or the development of consistent toxicological and ecotoxicological assessment methodologies.
The network, coordinated by the University of Alcalá, includes teams with a prolonged expertise in marine research and the damage to wildlife, fisheries and touristic industry caused by the accumulation of plastic debris in the environment. Other groups focus on risks derived from the generation of smaller fragments, namely micro- and nanoplastics, the leaching of plastics additives or the chemical risk caused by the adsorption of hydrophobic pollutants. The dissemination of microorganisms associated to the plastisphere is another hot topic covered by several teams in the Network. In addition, the Network is granting researchers access to techniques available in other institutions, thereby strengthening the competitive position of participating groups and associated partners.
Collaboration instruments include an internal communication structure, research staff training activities such as collaboration in scientific campaigns, and the preparation of publishable materials. Attention is paid to promoting the participation of the different groups in national and international networks and consortia. The Network also promotes knowledge transfer to companies and regulators, as well as to NGOs, policy makers and other social agents. Communication and dissemination activities are being carried out through multiple channels including specialized platforms, scientific dissemination events, and the use of social networks.
The first meeting of the network was held in Alcalá de Henares on February 28 and was aimed at presenting all the groups participating in the network and their research lines in order to create possible synergies between them, in addition to establish the actions that will be carried out by the network during the next months, which will include the creation of a website, of diverse dissemination material as well as the implementation of some joint research activity.
Website (currently under construction): http://www.enviroplanet.net/