General Information

On 20 March we are running a Big Microplastic Survey at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. If you have never done a microplastic survey before can we ask you to look at the various videos that explain the techniques. In particular please make sure you watch the Health and Safety video.  You also might like to download and read the resource pack as it provides lots of detail about the techniques and what we are looking for.

The plan is to meet at the Ryde Beach cafe near to the bus station. This is where we will give everyone a central briefing, demonstration of the methods and provide you with the equipment you need to undertake the survey. If you have your own gloves please bring them and hand sanitizer is also a good idea, although we will have some at the meeting point for when you return.

Once you get the hang of it surveys can be completed in about 30 minutes so hopefully you will have the time to undertake a couple. The beaches we would like to survey are at various locations around Ryde so depending on which beach you go to there may be a bit of walking involved and there may be access issues that you might like to consider. Let us know if you have any questions regarding this.

Beach Information

We have already undertaken a recce of the seafront and there are three main areas that we would like to collect data from. These areas can be seen in the image on the right.

The type of substrate in each of these areas is slightly different and while the methodology for collecting data will remain essentially the same, there are a few things that will vary in each location that require slight modification. The detail below is designed to highlight the differences.

You should note that weather between the date of the recce and the date of the actual survey may change this situation so be ready to be adaptable on the day.

Area A

Are A runs west from the drainage outlet at the edge of the grassed area and beyond the stepped breakwater.  Access is either by climbing down the step sea defences, or walking around the corner to a public slipway.

The are has a lot of seaweed and this catches the microplastics.  However in many places the seaweed is likely to be too thick to make it viable to collect accurate data. The best places are where there is some weed and some sand. When marking out the survey area the first requirement is to remove the seaweed but making sure that you shake of any microplastics into the 1m sq area before taking your samples.

This area extends to a point where there is a predominance of large cobbles and once you reach this point it is no longer suitable for the methodology.

Area B

Area B was the least contaminated part of the beach during the recce. It is the area from the west of the pier up to the breakwater which marks the start of area A.

The area immediately to the west of the pier includes an section of dry wind blown sand. It was difficult to see microplastics here but it can be assumed they will be higher up near to the sea wall. Slightly further west there are wet sand areas which show ‘wave lines’ and strandlines. It is important to identify these wave lines and strandlines as this is the best place to conduct your survey.

Access is via the ramps and steps.

Area C

Area C is shown on Google maps as Ryde Beach. It is a large expanse of sand to the east of Ryde marina, much of which is above the HWM. This area consists of sands and light gravels, and is heavily contaminated with microplastics. Whereas surveys in Areas A and B will provide us with a more dynamic indication of microplastics in the Ryde area, surveys in Area C will hopefully give us  an idea of the historic accumulation of microplastics over time.

In addition to the area above the HWM we also want to survey the high water strandlines on the beach and to the north of the marina sea defences. The shallow slope of the beach means that microplastics accumulate on the wave lines as the tide drops.

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