Microplastics and emerging contaminants

Presented by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)

Event details

Tuesday 9 April 2024
Time (AEST)

> 6:00pm pre-seminar drinks – Purchase at bar
> 6:30- 7:30pm Presentation – Free
> Post Event Dinner – $36pp (Optional)


Graduate House, The University of Melbourne, 220 Leicester Street Carlton


> Professor Andrew Ball, RMIT University and ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource
> Dr Minna Saaristo, EPA Victoria

Discussion Panel Chair

> Dr Ian Dagley FTSE, Solving Plastic Waste Cooperative Research Centre


Join us for an informative seminar addressing the issue of emerging contaminants in Victoria’s soils and waterways. While Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) are a known issue in Victoria, our exploration extends to other impactful contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, personal care products, phthalates (plasticizer chemicals), and microplastics (plastic fragments less than 5 mm in length).

Discover important insights during the seminar, as we delve into:

  • The current knowledge of contaminants of emerging concern in soils and waterways in Victoria
  • The extent and nature of their impact on human health and the environment;
  • The options available to reduce their impact in water systems;
  • The strategies that might be used to allow safe disposal or re-use of contaminated biosolids

Hear from Professor Andrew Ball and Dr Minna Saaristo who will be joined by Dr Ian Dagley FTSE, the incoming CEO of the new Solving Plastic Waste Co-operative Research Centre, to answer questions and join in on the discussion.

Don’t miss this opportunity to stay informed and contribute to the ongoing dialogue on environmental sustainability and public health.

This event is open to all.


Professor Andrew Ball

Director, ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource and Distinguished Professor, RMIT University

Andy is Director of the ARC Training Centre for the Transformation of Australia’s Biosolids Resource and Distinguished Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia and Solving Plastic waste CRC Program Leader-Mitigating the risks of microplastics in agricultural soils. He was previously Director of the Centre for Environmental Sustainability and Remediation at RMIT University and Flinders Bioremediation in Adelaide, Australia. He has worked in the area of soil microbiology, environmental pollution and biogeochemical cycling for 40 years, publishing over 300 peer reviewed articles.

Dr Minna Saaristo

Principal Scientist – Land and Contaminants, EPA Victoria

Dr Minna Saaristo is an ecotoxicologist with over 19 years of international experience applying science-based approaches to assess the impact and risks of contaminants of concern on the environment. Dr Saaristo is a Principal Scientist – Land and Contaminants at EPA Victoria, and leader of the Emerging Contaminants Program there. Since starting at EPA in 2019, she has led projects on assessing background concentrations of emerging contaminants in soil, freshwater, sediment and biota across the state, unravelling the presence of emerging contaminants in influent and effluent waters, and investigating the uptake of contaminants of concern into edible crops. Before EPA, Dr Minna Saaristo was Research Fellow at Monash University for 10 years. She is an internationally recognised behavioural ecotoxicologist and her multidisciplinary work has revealed pivotal insights into how chemical pollutants affect sexual selection across multiple generations of wildlife.

Discussion Panel Chair

Ian Dagley
Dr Ian Dagley FTSE

Chief Executive Officer, Solving Plastic Waste Cooperative Research Centre

Dr Ian Dagley was the Chief Executive Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Polymers for 21 years, and subsequently he was Chief of the Science Partnerships and Engagement Division of the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST) for 2.5 years.

Ian has a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Melbourne and an MBA from RMIT. His research career has also included periods at Oxford University, with Pacific Dunlop, and with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. In 2010, Dr Ian Dagley was admitted as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE).