Curated Session: Marine Litter

Plastic Waste and Marine Litter: Minimizing Our Footprint (2 CEUs)

Monday, September 25, 2017
16:00 – 18:00
Room 322

Moderator: Eric DesRoberts, Manager, Trash Free Seas Program, Ocean Conservancy

It has been estimated in 2014 that more than five trillion particles of plastic were afloat in the ocean, weighing more than 250,000 tonnes. Plastic is now omnipresent in the ocean, and if we do nothing, there might be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Plastics and other persistent organic pollutants have been found in large quantities 10km deep down the Marianas trench. Marine litter, which is mainly composed of plastic, is a major environmental and public health problem that needs to be addressed now. How can we minimize our footprint?

This session will address the following questions:

  • How can we generalize a behavioral change toward the end of marine dumping?
  • How can the waste pickers be fairly included in the process of cleaning the marine environment?
  • In which ways can international cooperation contribute to the management of plastics in SIDS?
  • What knowledge could be gathered to make current efforts more efficient?
  • How can we prevent poisoning of local fishing communities?


Maria Westerbros, Founder and Director, Plastic Soup Foundation, The Netherlands

Maria Westerbros

Maria Westerbos (born in Ethiopia on 10 September 1961) is an expert in mass communication, focusing on both traditional and new media. She combines a taste for inspiring social change projects with strategic insight and near flawless intuition covering a wide range of target groups. One of her most recent successes is setting up the Plastic Soup Foundation and effecting behavioural change in the use of micro plastics by international businesses, local and national governments, consumers and NGOs.

Sivapalan Kathiravale, Environmental Preservation and Innovation Centre Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Sivapalan Kathiravale

Sivapalan Kathiravale currently heads the newly establish Centre of Excellence for Waste Management in Malaysia. He established the Renewable Energy Resource Map for Malaysia under MOSTI. He is a member of the International Advisory (Scientific) Committee for the International Conference on Combustion, Incineration/Pyrolysis and Emission Control series of conference, which is held biannually in Asia. As a technical consultant and advisor to the first pilot scale plant and the consequent scale up to commercial plant for the conversation of Municipal solid waste to refuse Derived Fuel (Patent pending for process and also have won national and international invention awards). Mr. Kathiravale a member of Technical Committee for the evaluation of MSW Treatment Technology for Ministry of Housing and Local Government which is the regulating body for all municipal solid waste matters in Malaysia, including the master plans, treatment technologies and management method for Peninsular Malaysia. Mr. Kathiravale created four new equations to calculate the calorific values of municipal solid waste and refuse derived fuel. He is chairman of the technical committee on Solid Waste in SIRIM for the establishment of Malaysian Standards in the area of solid waste. Mr. Kathiravale was lead auditor in the commissioning of the first of the modern Incinerators in Labuan, Malaysia. Mr. Kathiravale is a member of the Task Force for Renewable Energy which oversees research and development in the field of Renewable Energy. Has published over fifty papers in Malaysian standards, International journals and conferences.

Joi Danielson, Senior Fellow, Program Innovation, Ocean Conservancy, Washington, D.C.

Joi Danielson

Joi Danielson is a Senior Fellow of Program Innovation at the Ocean Conservancy, with the mission of sustainably reducing the volume of plastic waste leaking into the ocean annually by 50% globally by 2025. She is currently solving how to unlock entrepreneurial and private investment interest in waste management by developing market based approaches and piloting innovative technology to maximize the inherent value in waste, thereby reducing the significant financial burden on municipalities to provide full waste collection services to all households. Ms. Danielson is an experienced strategist who enjoys working at the intersection of technology, market forces and the environment. She has ten years of international experience (five years as a McKinsey consultant) shaping and executing commercial and environmental strategy across the ocean, energy, technology, mining, consumer packaged goods and government sectors, with a heavy focus on Asian and African rapidly developing economies.