Sampling and analysis of microplastics in sea water and on the beach

ACTIVE LAB 05 + 06 / Thursday 14 October 2021 / 15:00 - 18:30

Organised by:
Managed by: Claire Gwinnett, Staffordshire University (UK)
Collaborator: George Varghese, NIT - National Institute of Technology, Calicut (IN)

Have you ever wondered how scientists sample and analyse microplastic pollution? Come and join the Microplast Active Lab and get hands-on experience in sampling and analysing microplastic pollution!

Programme overview

Plastic pollution is a global problem and acknowledged to be one of our major environmental challenges. Poor waste management has led to plastic pollution being found in all compartments of our environment, including our aquatic, atmospheric and terrestrial systems. Microplastics (polymers smaller than 5mm in size) have been found in even the remotest locations including the Arctic, the deep sea and on Everest. Understanding the abundance and type of microplastics in our different environments is important for risk assessments and the development of mitigation activities.

In this 4-hour active lab, we will sample both sediment and water from key locations along the Forte Village Resort beach using protocols developed to reduce contamination during sampling. You will then transport your samples back to the "lab" and learn how to recover any microplastics using filtering and density separation methods. Once recovered, you will conduct simple analysis whilst learning about additional techniques that may be employed to fully characterise samples and help identify source.
Interpretation of the results will provide us estimates of microplastic pollution in the local environment and help us understand possible waste management initiatives that could be employed.

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