Zoology students have been assessing the microplastic content in sand samples with Alex Miles as part of the courses’ Aquatic Ecosystems module.
Alex Miles, Aquaculture facility manager, discusses the importance of such experiments here:
Assessing #microplastic in sand samples - part of the Aquatic Ecosystems module for students on the #Zoology courses @HarperAdamsUni with Alex Miles #microplastics #handsonscience pic.twitter.com/5tjk0dylwZ— John Reade (@DrJohnReade) February 15, 2022
“Plastics are an integral part of our everyday existence, and are an extremely practical material for a seemingly endless list of applications and products.
Many human activities result in plastic being released into the environment. These can include anything from washing synthetic clothing, to accidental loss of commercial fishing gear at sea.
Plastic’s longevity causes widespread issues and their residual presence in smaller sized particles often referred to as “microplastics” when under 5mm in size.
Massive quantities of plastic materials, much of which is in the form of microplastics, are discharged into the marine environment on a daily basis and evidence suggests that concentrations of microplastics in the environment are increasing.
Other studies have found increasing concentrations in plastic ingested by marine organisms such as fish.
Plastics can eventually break down into nanoplastics, which are far smaller (nanometres in size as opposed to millimetres) but are still harmful to the environment and marine wildlife.
This particular practical exercise gives an insight into citizen-science friendly methods of determining the microplastics content of different samples.”
Want to take part in hands-on activities like this one, then book onto our next Open Day!