Plastic debris has been recognized as an environmental issue since the 1970’s. In 1997, staggering amounts of plastic were discovered in the Pacific Ocean. Plastic accumulation has also been documented in the North Atlantic. In recent years microplastics, the pieces smaller than 5mm, are of increasing concern and the full impact of microplastic contamination in the marine environment is far from understood.
Microplastics weather from larger marine plastic debris (drink bottles, commercial fishing gear, shopping bags), are laundered from clothing, and are even contained in many common cosmetics. These particles are ingested by marine life and can migrate up the food chain to larger fish, birds and mammals. Researchers need help from outdoor enthusiasts to collect samples to better understand the source, composition and distribution of this pollution.
Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation (ASC) is recruiting a flotilla of adventure scientists on the ocean and along the coast to study marine microplastic pollution. With support from a Patagonia Environmental Grant we are seeking to better understand this disturbing form of pollution.
How Can You Participate?
If you are a sailor, paddler, surfer, diver, or other ocean adventurer on the ocean or along the coast we need your help! Adventurer volunteers will collect surface water samples to better understand the source, composition and distribution of microplastics in as many locations as possible around the globe.
How will this data be used?
Samples will be analyzed at the Marine Environmental Research Institute (MERI) for microplastic particles. Obtaining a count and composition of the particles will allow researchers to better understand the sources of microplastic pollution. Results are published in peer-reviewed publications and reported in the national press. Additionally we will work with our corporate partners to explore solutions to the problem at its source.
Data collected will strengthen current research and provide evidence needed to leverage lawmakers into reducing the use of plastics. This project will provide further evidence of the need for restoring local marine habitats thus ensuring the long-term health of marine and coastal ecosystems.
Already collected samples?
Use the following form to submit your sample details to MERI.
All around the world, water that has been collected for this project has been contaminated with plastics. Shocking isn't it?