IDENTIFYING MICROPLASTIC HOTSPOTS
IN THE MALTESE WATERS
Project IMPACT will seek to identify microplastic hotspots found in Maltese waters, along with characterising this pollutant.
Impacts of plastic debris have been divided into three main categories: social damage, economical damage, and ecological damage. Locally, only a few studies attempted to explain specific aspects of microplastics (ex. characterisation, distribution, etc), clearly showing that there are many knowledge gaps about the implications of microplastics on the local environment.
Therefore, this knowledge will serve to better understand the distribution and potential impact of microplastics and provide some insight on the types of industries that could be targeted for transformation in their practices.
The development of a monitoring protocol will pave the way to a standardised monitoring technique which could be adopted by various stakeholders. Since these studies have never been carried out using this sort of technique, this project will act as a pilot for affirming a standard monitoring protocol.
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Developed in line with the EU Common Implementation Strategy for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (EC, 2013) and UNEP Guidelines for the Monitoring and assessment of Plastic Litter in the Ocean (GESAMP, 2019).
Maltese waters will be divided into different sampling areas.
Within these areas, sampling transects will be defined.
Manta trawl will be used to sample microplastics in the sea surface water.
The exact path of the vessel will be recorded using a handheld GPS.
The samples will be filtered, evaporated, and treated.
Physical characterisation chemical characterisation will be done.
The results from the sampling sessions and from the lab analysis will then be disseminated and presented to different stakeholders.