Jambeck awarded UGA Creative Research Medal

Jenna Jambeck

Jenna Jambeck

Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Engineering, is one of five faculty members honored by the university with 2016 Creative Research Medals. These medals are awarded for outstanding research or creative activity within the past five years that focuses on a single theme identified with the University of Georgia.

Jambeck was recognized for her groundbreaking work on waste management and marine debris.

Over the last three years, she led a collaborative research initiative that, for the first time, rigorously quantified the amount of mismanaged plastic that flows into the global ocean from 192 countries with coastal access.

Jambeck and her colleagues calculated that 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans every year, the majority from rapidly developing economies with lagging infrastructure. Without intervention, this annual input is expected to double by 2025.

Jambeck’s study, published in the journal Science, has provided a new and important perspective on the issue of marine debris and plastic in the oceans.

Her work also has spurred governments, industry and nonprofit organizations to protect ocean wildlife and ecosystem health by developing and financing better waste management infrastructure to stem the tide of plastics entering the oceans.

WRITER: James Hataway

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