Push for people to be ‘seaside scientists’

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A UNIVERSITY researcher is calling on people in Portsmouth to do their bit for the planet – by sending him microplastics they find on the beach.

University of Portsmouth student David Jones, founder of environmental campaign group Just One Ocean, is urging people to take part in the Big Microplastic Survey, with the university collecting data for the city.

David said: ‘It began as part of my MSc studies as a way of gathering data in a short space of time. I enlisted the help of volunteers to collect data and more and more people began to ask how they could help.

‘It’s a great way for people who love the beach and care about their environment to be involved in scientific research, which one day might make important contributions to environmental policies and practices.’

According to David, microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic debris – are one of the biggest threats to marine ecosystems and human health.

He said: ‘One of the biggest global issues affecting our oceans is microplastics and while much of the focus of attention at the moment is on cleaning the bigger pieces of plastics from our beaches, there are significant gaps in our knowledge about the microplastic in our oceans.

'They are being ingested by fish and birds, getting into the food chain and having an impact on human health; we need to know more.’

For more information go to microplasticsurvey.org.