Participants wanted for The Big Microplastic Survey

Amsterdam, 1 August 2018 – The hot weather draws many people to the beach and useful work is to be done there. Because what looks like clean sand, could in fact, be contaminated with microplastics. In collaboration with the University of Portsmouth, researcher David Jones, founder of Just One Ocean, has devised a way to map this pollution globally. Everyone can participate: individuals and organisations. The Big Micro Plastic Survey study is not limited to beaches; banks of rivers and lakes can also be explored.

The citizen science project consists of six simple steps:

  • Step 1. Register;
  • Step 2. Download the resource pack with the instructions;
  • Step 3. Consider where and when you are going to do research;
  • Step 4. Perform the research. Take a rope of four metres long. Use it to demarcate a square metre on the flood line. Take a piece of cardboard and cut a hole of 10 x 10 cm. Place this cardboard in five random places within the square metre. Spoon the 2 cm top layer from the hole. Put all the sand in a white bucket. Fill the bucket with (sea) water and stir briefly. Now the micro plastics will float to the surface. Pour the water through a kitchen strainer into a second white bucket. Repeat the examination on the flood line five times, each time with a distance of five metres between the demarcated squares. Determine the location with GPS or Google Maps;
  • Step 5. Analyse. Each time you get a mixture of microplastics and organic material that has also come afloat. Put it in a bowl and let it dry, then sort the micro-plastics on colour and kind by hand. Use the Micro Plastics Guide that distinguishes ten kinds of microplastics;
  • Step 6. Send the completed survey form, if possible with a photograph, to the researchers.

Maria Westerbos, director of the Plastic Soup Foundation: “We are proud to be a partner in this citizen science project. It is fantastic that in a fairly simple way everyone can contribute to research that is extremely important for scientific knowledge about the distribution and concentration of microplastics. We call on everyone to join in.”

Also read: Support the Plastic Soup Foundation with MBRC the Ocean