Plastic pollution is hidden and obvious and it’s impact on marine life and the environment is shocking. So when Challenge Wales had the opportunity to play its part in a collaborative global citizen science project, we jumped at it.
On a February weekend, our volunteers headed to the beach to play their part. With high-vis jackets donned, sieves and bits of rope in hand it was time to bring science to life.
Just One Ocean and the University of Portsmouth have set up the Big Microplastic Survey to understand more about the impact of micoplastics on the environment and marine life and the Challenge Wales charity is now another group around the world that are taking part in this scientific study.
Volunteers marked out the area to be sampled, took a sample of sand and using a sieve and some water separated the sand from the plastics. Although it was volunteers undertaking this first survey, it will be young people aged 12 – 25 years who will be driving it forward and taking part in future surveys.
Last year Challenge Wales launched an accredited Agored Cymru Environmental Project with Volvo Ocean Race Skipper, Dee Caffari who was racing on Turn the Tide on Plastic. The charity is already part of a science project measuring plankton so the microplastic survey is a great addition to the environmental awareness work the charity is already doing.
Challenge Wales voyages range in duration from 1 – 14 days and visits different coastal regions around the UK and overseas so there will be lots of opportunities for young people and adults to contribute significantly to the Big Microplastics Survey in 2019 and beyond.
Not only is this new study bringing science to life but also helps numeracy and literacy skills as well as improving teamwork, communication and leadership development. This activity will be undertaken on both the charity’s vessels Challenge Wales | Wales’ Tall Ship and Adventure Wales.
The Agored Cymru Environmental Project was set up as part of the Charity’s ‘Voyages of Discovery’ programme which is funded by the Big Lottery Community Fund.
Adventure Wales has been supported by the European Regional Development Fund through Welsh Government and through the Social Business Growth Fund, which is managed by WCVA (Welsh Council of Voluntary Action).