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Plastic litter lying around on our beaches and in our waterways eventually breaks up into small microplastics particles. The widespread contamination of microplastics is not only a problem for our environment and wildlife, it is also present in our foodchain to the extent that it has been estimated that the average person consumes 5-8g of plastic per week, which is about the size of a credit card.
It's easy to see the plastic litter on our beaches but microplastics (and nanoplastics) are an invisible problem that marine environmental scientist, Dr Michelle Blewitt, is attempting to quantify. She runs AUSMAP, the Australian Microplastics Assessment Project, which is training citizen scientists to record data on microplastics around the country to help identify pollution hotspots.
Michelle was one of the speakers at our Emerging Issues Forum in Cairns in November 2019. In this podcast interview she talks more about the problem of microplastics and what we can do about it.
01:40 What are microplastics, where do they come from and why is it a problem?
02:58 The definition of microplastics in terms of size
04:00 The implications for human health and wildlife
05:00 Microplastics in the environment
07:07 The AUSMAP project and how it is quantifying the problem.
09:30 How community involvement in the project is helping to change behaviour
11:14 The future
Contacts, Links & Resources
Find out more about AUSMAP at www.ausmap.org
More podcasts: Heidi Taylor from Tangaroa Blue talks about marine debris