The Big Microplastic Survey

The Big Microplastic survey is a collaborative citizen science project being undertaken by UK registered charity, Just One Ocean and the University of Portsmouth. The project began in July 2018 and numerous individuals and organisations from around the world have joined the programme.

This is not a project that it is time dependent. It is ongoing, with data gathered next year, or even in ten years contributing to our scientific knowledge. So it doesn’t matter if you can’t do a survey because of the snow; it can wait until the snow clear.

This project is all about collecting data that we can use. The more we get the better so please feel free to do as many surveys when you want, whenever you want.

The Idea

The idea for the project was conceived by David Jones, CEO and Founder of Just One Ocean.  David is a conservationist and speaker and having worked with The Plastic Oceans Foundation for nine years, has a wealth of knowledge on marine plastic issues and solutions.  One of the biggest issues we face is microplastics.

Find out more about microplastics

In March 2018 we conducted the first of our microplastic surveys using volunteers to gather the data as part of a University of Portsmouth research project. This was undertaken at the entrance to Chichester Harbour on the south coast of the United Kingdom in March 2018.

Find out more about the Chichester Harbour Survey

We were amazed at the number of people who were willing to take part in the data collection process.  We realised that the majority of microplastic data collection was being conducted by scientists and while that work remains as important as ever, the drawback was the amount of data they could feasibly collect within any given time frame.  We decided that a citizen science project could add valuable information to the work already being undertaken by scientists even potentially enhance it.

David addresses volunteers at microplastic survey

Where Are We?

Since we started The Big Microplastic Survey Project we have had an amazing response from around the world, not only from individuals who want to be involved in helping to resolve the microplastic issue, but also from academic institutions and even government departments.  This map shows the locations of registrations.  The whole process was digitised in August 2019 and we will also be continuing to develop our data analysis interface.

We Need Your Help

Although there are many scientists out there doing lots of really good research on the microplastic issue, there are simply not enough and we need more information.  That is where you come in.

The Big Microplastic Survey is has been designed as a global citizen science project that anyone can participate in.  It will gather scientific data and information about the microplastics problem from around the world and is aimed at individuals and organisations that have access to the coast, rivers and lakes and want to get involved.

undertaking a survey