Micro plastic trawling in the sunset
Here is a story on my little microplastic trawling mission. You all know about the plastic problem by now: Like that, there are plastic debris lumps floating around in our oceans larger than THREE times the size of France. But that is not the worst part, the worst part is the fact that all plastic degenerates into microplastic particles and further on into nano plastics. Plankton then eats it, then shrimp, fishes, crabs, birds, whales, and eventually we eat and drink it ourselves. You have probably seen the terrible images of birds, dolphins, and whales with their bellies full of pretty large plastic pieces. And you have most likely heard Ellen Mc Arthur's statement: "If we don't stop now there will be more plastic than fish in the Oceans by 2050"
Google microplastic and you will get the picture.
Here is how I do my "citizen science project" in collaboration with Professor Martin Hassellöv, at the Marine Department at the University of Gothenburg:
Professor Hassellöv and his students have prepared green bags with tubes and filters attached to them for me. The tubes are packed in aluminum foil to keep them away from plastic. The green microplastic bag is used on purpose...when analyzing the results, they will not count the green microplastic particles of that color/kind that might end up in the filter...
The tube with the filter is then attached to the very end of the long trawl net. I have marked it with the place and date.
While the tube, filter, and net are waiting, I will prepare the spinnaker boom and other stuff in front of the boat before launching the trawl...as seen in the video below:
Then when that is in the water I have to launch the trawl from the back of the boat as seen in the video here:
I then mark on the plotter where it was dropped, so I can keep track of the exact position and the exact distance sailed with the trawl/filter in the water. It shall be a distance between 2-5 Nautical Miles.
And then, we just have to get the speed going...so the trawl is pulled up to the surface as you can see on the image and video here (sorry for the blurry image and video - the light wasn't too generous to us after the sun went to bed):
Later on, I will show you what we got in the filter on this mission...