Filtering microplastics from sand
Community groups have gotten creative with ways to collect and filter microplastics pollution from sandy coastal beaches and riverbanks. Read on below for methods that range from standardized protocols, to clean up strategies, to youth-oriented activities.
Lead image from @eustatic in this post
Methods for filtering microplastics from sand
Larger microplastics sampling on a riverbank
- The Plastic Pirates campaign in the EU outlines a method in their project booklet (pg. 26) for sampling microplastics larger than 1 mm from sandy riverbanks.
- Great for young people aged 10-16 years! The Plastic Pirates website has support materials and guides for teachers and youth, and instructions on how to build a sampling sieve.
- Data produced: larger microplastic pieces per square meter.
Beach transect surveys
- ‘Universal protocol’ for sampling microplastics density on a sandy beach, outlined by @maxliboiron of CLEAR.
- Protocols and data collection sheets for collecting all marine debris (not just microplastics) from shorelines, developed by the US NOAA Marine Debris Program.
- More involved survey protocols with specific materials needed because you’re measuring out and sampling a particular area. Protocols are standardized to enable comparison between different sites and regions.
- Data produced: accumulations studies give debris density over time; standing-stock studies give debris density; photos.
Image: NOAA, public domain
Sweep and Pan vs. Scoop and Sift: Methods for Nurdle Retrieval
A post from @eustatic that outlines different ways to clean up nurdles (plastic pellets) with readily available tools. Some of these methods and tools could be incorporated into other survey methods described above.
Image: @eustatic, CC BY SA
Commercial mesh box for filtering plastic nurdles from a river beach
Another post from @eustatic showing a simple and highly effective method for sorting large numbers of nurdles (plastic pellets) from sand.
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