In 2018 we decided to develop a citizen science project that would be able to make a contribution to our knowledge and understanding of microplastics in the ocean. The project was not only intended to collect scientific data that could be used alongside that being gathered and analysed by scientists, but also to provide benefit to the volunteers and the wider community through the develop of new skills and public engagement.
After a pre-launch trial that saw around 100 volunteers descend on West Wittering Beach and East Head on the south coast of UK we ran an initial launch to the general public. By looking at the data being collected and analysing the results and the views of participants we were able to adjust the process to what has become the Big Microplastic Survey (BMS).
This whole development process was not haphazard, but was a planned process that utilised citizen science theory and scientific sampling techniques in a way that would allow anyone to be involved. We are delighted to share that the development of the BMS project has now been described, peer reviewed and published in The Journal of Coastal Conservation.
We are delighted that the work we have undertaken has been accepted by this scientific journal and it is hopefully the first of many as we are nearing completion of further research articles that compare and contrast the technique with traditional scientific methods and analyse the spatial and temporal data that the project has collected since its inception.