Environmental Award 2015 goes to Aarhus University researcher

Jakob Strand has received the Aase and Ejnar Danielsen Foundation’s Environmental Award 2015 valued at DKK 250,000 for research into the environmental impact of microplastics in the marine environment.

2015.11.25 | Christina Troelsen

Senior Researcher Jakob Strand, Department of Bioscience, has received the Environmental Award 2015 for research into the environmental impact of microplastics in the marine environment.

Senior Researcher Jakob Strand, Department of Bioscience, carries out research into the accumulation, fate and effects of hazardous substances and plastic with a particular focus on microplastics in the marine environment.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic up to 5 mm in size, which are discharged into the environment from different sources and end up in the oceans around us. It has long been known that there are large amounts of plastic waste on land and in the oceans, and they take a long time to decompose. However, it is only in the last decade that people have become aware that microplastics are a particular environmental problem. This is because microplastics are easily consumed by living organisms as food and because environmentally hazardous and hormone-disturbing substances are used as additives or come from outside sources and attach themselves to the plastic particles.

Microplastics in the environment originate not only from the fragmentation and decomposition of different plastic materials, but also directly from a number of products with added microplastics. However, we currently have limited knowledge of the environmental consequences of microplastics when they reach the marine environment.

Allocating the Environmental Award 2015 helps draw attention to the importance of research into microplastics.

“The Environmental Award is a prestigious recognition of Jakob Strand’s research and an indication of how important it is to study the potential environmental problems associated with microplastics. Microplastics are an important focus area for research at Aarhus University, with great current relevance for environmental consultancy and monitoring, and I’m therefore very pleased with the award, on behalf of both Jakob and the department,” says Head of Department Peter Henriksen, Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University.

Jakob Strand was most recently lead author of a new report from the Nordic Council of Ministers entitled Marine Litter in Nordic Waters. This report focuses particularly on plastic, which is by far the most common type of marine debris, including the accumulation of microplastics recorded in Nordic waters.

Jakob Strand is a marine biologist with a PhD in Aquatic Toxicology from Roskilde University and the former National Environmental Research Institute (NERI) – now Aarhus University. He has been a senior researcher at the Department of Bioscience, Aarhus University, since 2008.

The award was presented on 26 November 2015.

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