UWA Albany researcher Dr Harriet Paterson has been conducting research into the impact of plastics on the coastal environment. Dr Paterson visited Walpole, Esperance, Hopetoun and Bremer Bay i recently to collect samples of beach sand to analyse the quantity of micro-plastics in the samples and determine where plastics become concentrated on beaches.
Dr Paterson enlisted the help of school students to gather the samples. Individual samples were collected from 200 beaches off south-western Australia. Once analysed, the information will provide an overview of the concentration of plastics along the south-western coastline.
A total $32,000 in funding, provided by the State Natural Resource Management Program community project enabled this research to take place. The project is titled “Benchmarking the accumulation of micro-plastics off south-western Australia” and is aimed at providing opportunities for Western Australians to learn about, conserve and protect our coast.
In addition, workshops were presented to adults in each of the towns visited to raise awareness of the impact that plastics have on marine life and the environment.
“The research generated a lot of interest, with a number of groups keen to be involved” said Dr Paterson.
Dr Paterson was accompanied by Kate Born, Micro-plastics Coordinator, Conservation Council and is working with Dr Nic Dunlop, Environmental Science and Policy Coordinator, Conservation Council.
Harriet Paterson (CENRM) 0401 588 846
Paula Phillips (UWA Albany) (+61 8) 9842 0810