Community AUSMAP Microplastics Surveys
Microplastics are monitored in four sites across the Tamar as part of the AUSMAP project.
AusMap is a national citizen science project that aims to map and monitor the microplastic pollution in Australian waterways and coastlines. It involves volunteers, researchers, educators, and environmental groups who collect and analyse samples of microplastic from various locations around the country.
AUSMAP visited the Tamar Valley in late October 2023, and provided a Community Talk, Community Day and Training sessions with the first quarterly surveys by Tamar NRM to commence in January at four sites on the Tamar estuary.
The first survey took place on Sunday 21st January, the weather was perfect for an educational session and survey at East Beach to demonstrate the process of mapping microplastics for AUSMAP with an enthusiastic group of environmental volunteers from the Bass Greens and Launceston Field Naturalists Club.
Two randomly chosen 50cm Quadrats along a 50-metre x 4-metre transect were surveyed, finding one piece of Microplastic around 2-3 mm diameter. All Macroplastics (over 5mm in size outside of the quadrats and within the transect) were removed and recorded for submission to Tangaroa Blue Foundation.
This work extends on that done in previous years by Jima Okori, Plastic Free Launceston and Conservation Volunteers Australia and will inform AUSMAP's data.
Plastic Free Launceston continues to deliver educational sessions in schools that use the citizen science AUSMAP equipment. Students sieve and search beach sand to identify microplastics and this leads to discussions as to how microplastics have become so ubiquitous in marine environments and what are some positive actions to respond.
If you are interested in joining our quarterly AUSMAP sessions around four sites around the Tamar, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org