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Hydrologist Visiting A&M-Galveston for River Plastic Pollution Seminar    

February 17, 2020

Dr. Tim van Emmerik, a hydrologist with the Netherlands' Wageningen University and the Ocean Cleanup

By Andréa Bolt, Content Manager, Division of Marketing & Communications

GALVESTON, TX, FEBRUARY 17, 2020: Rivers play a key role in transporting a number of things to the world’s ocean, and that includes land-based plastic waste. Plastic threatens species, impacts economic activities and affects the livelihood of human beings. To effectively reduce plastic pollution, thorough understanding of origin, transport mechanisms, fate and impacts of river plastics is crucial, which is precisely the reason Dr. Tim van Emmerik is visiting Texas A&M University at Galveston Thursday, February 27, 2020.
Van Emmerik will present an overview of current monitoring and modeling efforts to characterize river-based plastic pollution, with a special focus on macroplastics, and an outlook for future research directions. As an experimental hydrologist, his academic aim is to provide reliable data to solve societal water-related challenges.
“My research has focused on developing new methods to measure all kinds of components of the water cycle, from water stress in Amazon trees to evaporation of (urban) lakes,” Van Emmerik explained. “Through working at The Ocean Cleanup, I became aware of the scientific challenge of plastic pollution in aquatic ecosystems. At Wageningen University, I now try to contribute to overcoming data scarcity, lack of adequate measurement methods and setting up long-term monitoring campaigns for plastic pollution in river systems.”
Van Emmerik was invited by Associate Professor of the Department of Marine and Coastal Environmental Science Dr. Karl Kaiser and is also welcomed by the Research and Graduate Studies Office. 
Van Emmerik trawling a Malaysian river as part of a pollution study project
Van Emmerik trawling a Malaysian river as part of a pollution study project

“We are literally surrounded by plastics in our daily lives, from the products we buy in the supermarket, the vehicles we drive—even the clothes we wear. One of the major virtues of this material, its durability, has become a great problem for today’s rivers and oceans,” said Dr. Diego Gil-Agudelo, director of research operations. “Vast amounts of plastics enter our oceans every day, including plastic carried from land by rivers. It is now widely known how these plastics, particularly those that can float, are accumulating in certain areas of rivers and oceans due to the action of currents.”
Van Emmerik will speak in the Aggie Special Events Center, room 203, from 3:30 - 5 p.m.

Members of the media are invited to attend a boat trip aboard Texas A&M-Galveston’s R/V Trident Friday morning, February 28, 2020, alongside Kaiser’s Methods in Marine Science class, wherein van Emmerik will instruct students on water monitoring and further discuss the problems macroplastics pose regarding river pollution.
For questions on how to participate in the field trip, please call or email Content Manager Andréa Bolt at 409.740.4929 or
What:            Boat Trip to Brazos River
Who:               Members of the Media
When:             8 a.m., Friday, February 28, 2020
Where:           Vessel boarding at Texas A&M University at Galveston     
For more information, email
About Texas A&M University at Galveston
Texas A&M University at Galveston is an ocean-oriented branch campus of Texas A&M University which educates nearly 2,300 undergraduate and graduate students in a unique blend of marine and maritime programs, including majors in science, business, engineering, liberal arts, and transportation. It is the primary component that fulfills the sea-grant portion of Texas A&M’s land-, sea-, space-grant mission and has nearly $10 million annually in research expenditures. Texas A&M-Galveston is also home to the Texas A&M Maritime Academy, one of seven in the U.S. and the only academy integrated into a Tier 1 academic institution, which trains over 300 cadets annually for maritime service and employment around the world. Texas A&M-Galveston is ideally located in Galveston, Texas on the Gulf Coast where is it surrounded by the industry, environment and programs essential to fulfilling its special-purpose mission.


Media contact:
Andréa Bolt