PhD student wins national Green IT competition

Aldous Rees, a PhD student at Southampton Solent University, has won a British Computer Society competition to write a 140 character strapline that defines a future vision for green ICT in 2024.

Aldous, who graduated in Geography from Southampton Solent before going on to a Masters in Applied Marine Science at Plymouth University came up with the idea of designing a robot which could collect marine litter from our oceans, allowing a more green and sustainable future for our oceans.

Aldous explains: “The world’s oceans are currently suffering from large amounts of marine litter, with plastic items being the biggest problem. 

“It has been estimated that there are 5.25 trillion plastic particles floating in the sea, with many more trillion pieces on the sea floor.  These pieces of plastic get broken down into ever smaller pieces, resulting in microplastics. 

“Both microplastics and larger plastic items are a major threat to marine life with animals getting caught in items such as abandoned fishing nets and eating smaller particles with krill – tiny crustaceans that live in the world’s oceans and are at the bottom of the marine food chain.

“This is a major issue and, at the current time, little is being done to rid the oceans of this plastic waste.”

Aldous first became interested in microplastics through a group project in his final year as an undergraduate at Southampton Solent.  The group could choose from a list of topics and his group chose microplastics in beach and estuarine sediments. 

“We collected nine samples from over 25 different beaches in East Anglia and in the Southampton area”, explains Aldous, “and found that every sample from every beach contained microplastic particles.  The results inspired me to investigate further with a plankton trawl of Southampton Water for microplastics.  The results have now been presented at a conference and will be published in March of this year.”

Aldous has now been involved in a number of different projects regarding marine pollution from microplastic and plastic debris with Southampton Solent and says this is likely to continue well into the future. 

“I see myself helping to create methods and ideas and implementing policies to reduce the amount of litter and other pollution sources which enter our seas” he concludes. “This sort of work is vital if marine species are to survive and our ocean is to have a green and sustainable future.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT THE MEDIA OFFICE ON 023 8201 3040 or press.office@solent.ac.uk

About Southampton Solent University  

Southampton Solent University offers more than 23,000 students over 200 qualifications ranging from HND to PhD, in subjects such as maritime education and training, fashion and design, media and television, music, health, sport and leisure, business, IT and technology. The University was awarded the 2013 Quality Assurance kitemark for quality and standards of teaching and learning. Solent was voted one of the most creative universities in the UK in a Which? University 2014 poll of students. Solent Business School has been awarded the Small Business Charter Award, which is supported by the Association of Business Schools and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and ‘gold approval’ by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

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Home to around 11,000 students studying everything from HNDs to PhDs, Southampton Solent University is dedicated to enabling learners of all backgrounds to become enterprising citizens and responsible leaders, while also promoting economic and social prosperity. Winner of the Times Higher Education ‘Most Improved Student Experience’ Award 2015, Solent is a dynamic university with strong local links and a growing network of global connections – and a reputation for developing grounded, well-prepared graduates with the skills and experience employers want. Holder of the small business charter, home to one of the world’s leading maritime training academies and voted one of the UK’s most creative universities in the 2013 and 2014 Which? University student polls, Solent applies passion and innovative practice to all its courses. Spanning business and law, the creative industries, engineering and technology, maritime, media, sport and tourism, those courses deliver a practical blend of career-focused tuition and real-world experience – giving our students the tools they need to shape their own success.

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I see myself helping to create methods and ideas and implementing policies to reduce the amount of litter and other pollution sources which enter our seas. This sort of work is vital if marine species are to survive and our ocean is to have a green and sustainable future.
Aldous Rees