Wightlink investigates microplastics on Isle of Wight beaches

Vanessa Skipper and pupils from Dover Park Primary search for microplastics on Ryde beach

Wightlink has joined the campaign to find out more about microplastics pollution on Isle of Wight beaches. 

The ferry company has signed up with Just One Ocean and the University of Portsmouth to take part in The Big Microplastics Survey. This is a global citizen science project to gather information about how microplastics are affecting coasts, rivers and lakes and everyone is welcome to join in. 

Across the world, it’s estimated eight million tonnes of plastic gets into our oceans every year. Tides and currents break down some of it into tiny particles known as microplastics. They can have a major impact on marine wildlife as they spread through ecosystems and get into the foodchain. 

Staff from Wightlink have already joined marine scientists at the University of Portsmouth and children from one of its partner schools – Dover Park in Ryde – to examine an area next to Ryde pier. No complicated equipment is needed to carry out microplastics surveys, only household sieves and buckets. More surveys are planned, and the results will contribute to an international database. 

David Jones from Just One Ocean adds: “Plastic pollution poses a significant threat to marine and coastal ecosystems, and human health. We are grateful to Wightlink for carrying out microplastic surveys on Ryde beach to add to our data. Anyone is welcome to take part in this citizen science initiative and contribute their results to the international database.” 

Louise Lea from Wightlink took part in the survey on Ryde beach. She says: “Surveying Island beaches for microplastics is just part of Wightlink’s Green Solent Project. This initiative aims to protect the land, air and sea that surrounds our three routes linking the Isle of Wight with the mainland.” 

Wightlink’s flagship Victoria of Wight is England’s first large ferry powered by hybrid energy and the company is planning to introduce an all-electric ferry with zero carbon emissions. 

To find out how to get involved in The Big Microplastics Survey see: 

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