President's Blog

10 Oct 2018 11:46 Age: 1 year

Guest Blog | Innovative Lecture about the Impact of Plastic in Marine Environment Takes Place at the Valorsul Sorting Center in Lisbon

Category: ISWA BLOG, ISWA News


The EGF – Environment Global Facilities and the Centre for Communication of the Oceans organized an innovative lecture dedicated to the theme of plastics in the marine environment on the 26.09.2018 in Lisbon. Ana Loureiro writes a summary of the event for ISWA's blog.

This lecture, held in Portuguese, was attended by expert speakers and enthusiasts who presented the question in a singular prism in a scenario built with 10 tons of plastic – 49 plastic bales, enough to produce 40.800 t-shirts! The initiative took place at the Valorsul Sorting Center in Lisbon, but was also broadcasted live on, where the film is already available




This event had the presence of Filipa Bessa, Researcher (biologist) of MARE-University of Coimbra, specializing in microplastics in marine environments. This biologist has been studying the presence in the Portuguese marine environments of microplastics, plastic particles below 5 mm. They result from the successive and multiple fragmentation of plastic: "The plastic does not end in the microplastic. Then it advances to nanoplastic", she says.


In the research she has produced, Filipa Bessa has found on the coast, either in water or in sedimentation, abundant traces of plastic on the Portuguese coast, invisible to the naked eye, but which micro-scale analysis evidences, giving an even more dramatic dimension to the problem of plastic on the planet. The MARE researcher points out that plastic is a real threat. It is present in fish of commercial interest and that we ingest. The biologist at the University of Coimbra also states that plastic is not only reaching our tables, but also in the air we breathe: "There are plastic nanoparticles also suspended in the air."


Another aspect that had motivated the scientific interest of Filipa Bessa is the ability of the microplastic itself to assimilate heavy metals: "We have already realized that microplastics simultaneously absorb contaminants and releases toxins and chemical additives, and the scientific community is trying to perceive better what contaminants are these and how is the release of these chemicals, "says the expert.




Miguel Lacerda - sailor, diver and leader of a pioneering study on plastic litter on the cliffs and remote beaches of Cabo da Roca and its surroundings, also presented the results of his study. The study began in May 2014, collecting a huge amount of marine litter in Cascais beaches, that conducted to an important amount of expeditions and data collection that indicates that most of the marine litter found comes from fishery and in second place comes litter from municipal waste. 




Susana Silva, representing the communication department of EGF, presented the latest social innovation projects of EGF and how this Group in investing 2.6 M€, funded by the EU, to motivate people to change their behaviors in a way that doesn’t take so much time to implement and to tackle the problem as soon as possible. Campaigns for commerce, events and schools are the highlights of new campaigns that associate direct benefits to those who adopt the best environmental behaviors.


About the Oceans Communication Center


The Oceans Communication Center is a project of Nysse Arruda, journalist and curator, nautical specialist for more than 20 years in Portugal, author of several publications and awarded in 2016 by the Femina Prize. She started this project to promote the debate on the essential issues associated with the Sea, and obtained institutional support from several institutions, especially the Presidency of the Republic, the Ministry of the Sea, the Ministry of the Environment, the Lisbon City Council, the Hydrographic Institute, the Sciences of Lisbon, IPMA and Unesco-Portugal.


This project is also sponsored by the Olympic sailors João Rodrigues and Joana Pratas, but also with the Brazilian sailor Torben Grael, the surfer Garret McNamara and the American NGO Marine MegaFauna Mozambique.


About EGF


EGF, Environmental Global Facilities, is an European company of reference in the environmental sector and leader in waste treatment and recovery in Portugal. Reinforced by its integration into the MOTA-ENGIL and URBASER Group, EGF is the majority shareholder in 11 waste treatment concessionaries: Algar, Amarsul, Ersuc, Resiestrela, Resinorte, Resulima, Suldouro, Valnor, Valorlis, Valorminho and Valorsul.


Ana Loureiro


Ana Loureiro is specialist in strategic environmental communication related to waste management issues. She is the Corporate Communication Director at EGF – Environment Global Facilities, a position that allows her to develop innovative communication approaches to different stakeholders. In the past she was Chair of the Working Group on Communication and Social Issues of ISWA (2006/2009), Vice-Chair of the group (2004/2006) and active member since 2002, working in several task forces dedicated to communication, education, the closure of dumpsites and circular economy. Before working at EGF, she worked in Valorsul and in the Municipality of Lisbon, as communication responsible of Monsanto Public Park. Ana Loureiro is specialist in strategic environmental communication related to waste management issues. She is the Corporate Communication Director at EGF, a position that allows her to develop innovative communication approaches to different stakeholders.