Just finished the second week offshore collecting microplastic samples for the North Sea Plastic project.
Storms threatened some of the planned sampling stations, but researchers eventually made it to a quieter station. For some of the researchers, this was their first time at sea.
Some of the techniques used included the ‘snow catcher’ and the deployment of Garrett screen samplers from the ship’s bow to collect samples from the sea surface microlayer. To save time, different devices were used simultaneously. Following this, a vertical trawl net was deployed three times to collect zooplankton from the entire water column, which had a depth of approximately 30 meters. Due to the use of this method, the deployment process was faster.
Five stations were visited, but not all of them were appropriate for LABPLAS’s objectives. Samples were only taken from stations where conditions were optimal.
The weather forecast predicted a rapid deterioration in the southeastern North Sea, which caused them to return a day earlier than expected.
Despite the setbacks, various water samples have been taken from different points in the North Sea, where plastic pollution turns this area into a black spot. This way, the project can move on to the next phase to implement and improve methods for tracking plastic and procedures to try to eradicate it.
Thanks to all the people and researchers who make it possible to fight against plastic pollution to achieve a cleaner oceans.