Help our marine life to stop eating microplastic "Junk" food
Project Member(s): Matthews, J.
Funding or Partner Organisation: Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation (Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund - Innovation Grants)
Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation (Lord Mayor's Charitable Fund - Innovation Grants)
Start year: 2019
Summary: Microplastic pollution spans the world’s ocean and is one of the biggest environmental issues of our time. These tiny pieces of human society carry toxic chemicals and microbial pathogens, contaminating drinking water, killing marine life and entering our food chain. Microplastics associate with chemicals that soak up everything from the surrounding environment acting as carriers of pollutants, toxins and harmful bacteria, hence the concern for physical and chemical toxicity to living organisms, including humans. Removing marine microplastics is a global challenge, and an especially difficult one given the small size and variety of shapes and chemical compositions. But what if we could take advantage of the physical and chemical properties to develop a novel tool to clean-up marine microplastics? Our interdisciplinary team will develop a mechanistic tool that concentrates microplastic particles into larger “clumps” by exploiting their electrostatic quality; these clumps could then be easily removed with existing ocean-pollution clean-up technology. We will inspire local and global awareness through communication and citizen-science activities. Our innovative approach will improve our global understanding of the properties and versatilities of marine microplastics, their potential impact on ecosystem and human health, and advance solutions to reduce adverse human impacts to safeguard our marine ecosystems.
FOR Codes: Environmental Marine Biotechnology, Environment, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS