UGA engineering professor to co-lead National Geographic plastic initiative

Jenna Jambeck

Jenna Jambeck

Jenna Jambeck, an associate professor in the University of Georgia’s College of Engineering, has been named a scientific co-lead for the National Geographic Society’s “Source to Sea” plastic initiative.

Jambeck is an environmental engineer who has led foundational research on sources of plastic waste and the role of waste management globally in solving the problem of plastic pollution. Along with fellow scientific co-lead Heather Koldewey, the head of marine and freshwater conservation programs at the Zoological Society of London, Jambeck will lead an international, interdisciplinary team in developing a scientific plan for the “Source to Sea” plastic initiative. The plan will include an initial expedition to study the type and flow of plastic in a river system.

“I feel it is important to further connect people to and raise awareness about the fact that our activities and the waste we generate on land impact our environment, waterways and the ocean,” said Jambeck. “In this process, we are collecting critically needed data, not only to better characterize and comprehend this issue, but also to work alongside communities to better understand and address the issue globally.”

Jambeck believes “Source to Sea” can empower governments, corporations and citizens to work toward context-sensitive solutions to the issue of plastic waste.

“My hope is that this project can will shift the paradigm of how we think about waste, eliminating or reducing what we don’t need, improving what we do need and creating a more circular materials management system.”

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