Season 2 Episode 6: Michelle Blewitt on Microplastics

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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.   

Podcast Timestamps

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

More podcasts: Heidi Taylor from Tangaroa Blue talks about marine debris


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