Episode 20: Tackling plastic waste in our water featuring Chennai

May 2024

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About This Episode

Ahead of our Urban Ocean Summit in Chennai in June 2024, our Executive Director Lauren Sorkin welcomes Dr. Parama Roy and Taylor Maddalene on an interesting conversation about tackling plastic waste and leakage into our waterways. We hear from Taylor on how cities can tackle this ubiquitous problem and Dr. Parama, a leading researcher on the subject in Chennai, India, sheds light on how the city is addressing this problem head on and the kinds of initiatives ongoing and its impacts through the Urban Ocean program.

The Speakers

Dr Parama Roy

Dr. Parama Roy

Taylor Maddalene

Taylor Maddalene

Lauren Sorkin

About Dr. Parama Roy

Dr. Parama Roy, is the Executive Director of Okapi Research & Advisory and an Adjunct Faculty at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras. She completed her PhD in Urban Geography from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA and taught at multiple Universities abroad including the Georgia State University and University of Copenhagen, before moving back to India and joining Okapi.

Using interdisciplinary approaches and the lenses of urban political ecology and socio-environmental justice, Dr. Roy has worked on contemporary planning and policy challenges related to socio-ecological systems, nature-based-solutions (NbS), waste and water management, food insecurity and disaster vulnerability. She has published widely in journals like Urban Studies, Cities, GeoJournal, Urbanization and Sustainable Cities & Society.

About Taylor Maddalene

Taylor Maddalene is currently a PhD Candidate and Graduate Research Assistant in the Jambeck Research Group in the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia. She is also the Director of the Circularity Assessment Protocol at the Circularity Informatics Lab at the University of Georgia. Taylor received her Bachelors in Environmental Science from the University of Virginia and her Masters in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Her background is in marine ecology, conservation, and science communication, working on projects around the globe with organizations such as National Geographic, NOAA, and Rare. Her current research focuses on the impacts of plastic pollution on coastal ecosystem health and tying human behavior and waste management infrastructure on land with that we find in the ocean.

About Lauren Sorkin

As Executive Director of the Resilient Cities Network, Lauren oversees global efforts to strengthen cities in the face of the complex and interconnected challenges they face. Leading a Team of professionals in Mexico City, New York, Rotterdam and Singapore in collaboration with Chief Resilience Officers in more than 40 countries, she drove the co-design process to launch Global Resilient Cities Network as an independent city-led network organization. 

Lauren serves as an advisor and spokesperson on urban resilience, women’s leadership sustainable finance, climate risk, stakeholder engagement, and urbanization trends. She is on the Advisory Board of several sustainability focused initiatives including Food Tank, the Singapore Sustainability Summit (S3), and Natural Capital.

Previously with the Asian Development Bank, Lauren led the Bank’s first ever climate change investment plan before moving to the ADB’s Vietnam Office to mainstream climate risks and opportunities in the country’s US$7 billion portfolio. Before joining the ADB, she worked with USAID to implement clean energy, climate change and conservation projects in Asia, Africa and South America. She has published work on biofuels, climate change, public speaking for social impact, infant mortality and HIV/AIDS.

Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Tufts University and a Master of Science in Environment and Development from the London School of Economics. She lives in Singapore with her husband and two daughters where she can be found practicing contemporary dance, yoga and singing while working towards a better future.

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