The theme for World Environment Day on 5 June 2023 focuses on solutions to plastic pollution under the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution. ANDROMEDA, a JPI Oceans-funded research project, brings together 15 international partners dedicated to research on microplastic and nanoplastic collection, analysis, identification, and monitoring.
The project aims to improve current methods of collecting microplastic samples from marine environments and develop new methods and tools to analyse microplastics found in order to better understand the source, locations and characteristics of these plastic particles. Researchers also want to better understand how these microplastics degrade and breakdown in our oceans and seas.
The ANDROMEDA project has created two public factsheets, one highlighting the ANDROMEDA Citizen Science App and its application/usage, and another general factsheet outlining the context for microplastics and nanoplastics in our ocean environments.
ANDROMEDA Smartphone App Factsheet:
The ANDROMEDA citizen science smartphone app was developed to enable citizens to help scientists in addressing the global environmental problem of microplastics in our environment. The app uses artificial intelligence to analyse photos of microplastics taken by the app user, and learns to identify these over time. This data will contribute towards a European-wide microplastics database which will, over time, significantly speed up the work of scientists in identifying and characterising the various microplastic particles found in our environment – thus scaling up research and solutions to this global environmental challenge!
Microplastics are synthetic particles between 1 μm – 5000 μm in diameter (0.001 mm – 5 mm) which originate from a variety of sources and typically end up in the ocean or on beaches.
The ANDROMEDA microplastics factsheet outlines the impact of microplastics on our environment over time, educates around the different types of particles that enter our marine environments, and illustrates the ways in which they enter the food chain and impact on marine life.