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Fields & Applications Environmental, Polymers

Cleaning Up Our Act!

With continuing pressure from dedicated groups and scathing headlines fueling wider frustration, pollution is never far from government agendas or the public consciousness. The Greenpeace Research Laboratories – established more than a quarter of a century ago – have played a significant role in raising the profile of microplastic and heavy metal pollution. We spoke with David Santillo, one of eight scientists employed at the Laboratories at the University of Exeter, UK, to find out more.


What motivated you to work at Greenpeace?

Central to Greenpeace’s mission is the idea of “bearing witness” – reporting on environmental pollution using advanced analytical techniques. My greatest hope is to shed light on the monumental problems that we face, and that’s a real motivator. Whether dealing with chemical or plastic pollution, the goal is always to address the issue at its source.

Analytical science plays a vital role: if you don’t have high-quality evidence to back up your case, then all you can speak about are generalities, which don’t provide solid foundations for good policy. You can only understand the complexity of chemicals in the environment by applying analytical techniques.

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About the Author

Jonathan James

Having thrown myself into various science communication activities whilst studying science at University, I soon came to realize where my passions truly lie; outside the laboratory, telling the stories of the remarkable men and women conducting groundbreaking research. Now, at Texere, I have the opportunity to do just that.

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