Cleaning up a marine microplastic mess
Marine microplastics are a global pollution problem. A new project aims to remove them from our oceans and waterways using new technology and citizen science.
What the project will do
They contaminate our drinking water, endanger marine life and make their way into our food chain. Yet, as their name suggests, marine microplastics are hard to spot and even harder to eliminate.
Microplastics are typically smaller than a grain of rice and often referred to as “tiny pieces of human society”.
University of Technology Sydney (UTS) marine biologist Dr Jennifer Matthews and UNSW Sydney materials scientist Dr Rakesh Joshi are working to rid marine ecosystems of microplastics while ensuring marine life and the environment are unaffected.
Microplastics get washed down the drain and ingested by all types of marine life, from phytoplankton to whales.
Dr Jennifer Matthews, UTS
With funding from The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation, the two researchers aim to take advantage of the different physical and chemical properties of microplastics to develop a mechanical device that can be deployed in marine environments.
“Microplastics come from a variety of sources, not just the obvious ones such as plastic bottles and bags that degrade into smaller pieces,” says Dr Jennifer Matthews from the UTS Climate Change Cluster.
Continue reading at UTS Newsroom: Cleaning up a marine microplastic mess