UGA Engineering’s Jenna Jambeck named Water Hero

Jenna Jambeck

Jenna Jambeck

An associate professor in the University of Georgia College of Engineering has been named a Water Hero in the annual Clean 13 awards program sponsored by the Georgia Water Coalition.

Jenna Jambeck, a leader in research on plastic pollution in oceans, is one of 13 companies, organizations or individuals honored for “extraordinary efforts (that) have led to cleaner water in Georgia,” according to the water coalition.

“Since the passage of the Clean Water Act in 1972, we’ve seen Georgia’s waterways become cleaner and healthier, but there’s still much that needs to be done,” said Joe Cook, advocacy and communication coordinator with Coosa River Basin Initiative, a Georgia Water Coalition member organization. “Those recognized in our Clean 13 report are setting new standards to protect, preserve and restore Georgia’s rivers, lakes, streams and coastal waters.”

Jambeck is internationally recognized for her research on plastic waste in the ocean and for the Marine Debris Tracker app she co-created with fellow faculty member Kyle Johnsen. Her 2015 paper in Science found that 8 million metric tons of plastic enter the world’s oceans every year.

The 2018 Clean 13 honorees also includes UGA’s Warnell School of Forestry & Natural Resources. The school led efforts to improve water quality in the Middle Oconee River in Athens by removing a dam.

The Georgia Water Coalition is a consortium of more than 250 conservation and environmental organizations, hunting and fishing groups, businesses, and faith-based organizations that have worked to protect Georgia’s water since 2002.

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