Wollongong students from a variety of science disciplines have joined forces to tackle the wider issue of microplastics in the Illawarra.

The event was held on September 8 with students working together, learning and discussing the significance of microplastics.

Students were split into groups at the Microplastics Interprofessional Education Day and given different areas of concern to collaborate on, brainstorming solutions in an effort to stop or minimise the spreading of microplastics in the environment. 

Community Engagement Facilitator, Jack Brooks helped organise the event and emphasised the communal approach to solving global issues.

 “We work to make sure that these solutions are actually practical and that there’s actually buy-in from the community,” he said

 “One solution can’t fit everybody, it has to be targeted, it has to have a purpose.

 “Students are finding specific stakeholder groups that they can implement these solutions for.”

 Their work was localised to the Illawarra but their strategies could help reduce microplastics across Australia and potentially worldwide.

While the focus of the day was the issue of microplastics, it also served to better develop the connections between students and allow them to practice solving issues with students outside of their course – a necessary skill for any work after university.

 Cell and molecular biology student Cody Regan said it was important to use students’ different skill sets to create more effective solutions.

 “When we go into our workplaces, we won’t be working with people who are just biologists or just chemists, so it’s good we get to practice working with them,”  Mr Regan said.

 “It’s similar to different cultures coming together, we learn a lot from them.”

The university hopes to be able to organise a similar event again next year and continue a healthy relationship between all science faculties.