Government of Montserrat

MATLHE COLLABORATES WITH EXETER UNIVERSITY ON MICRO-PLASTIC RESEARCH PROJECT

H.E. Governor Pearce & the Honourable David Osborne collecting samples at Carr’s Bay


 

The Ministry of Agriculture, Trade, Lands, Housing and the Environment (MATLHE), through the Fisheries Unit, is collaborating with Exeter University in the United Kingdom on a global research project on the presence of micro-plastics at sea turtle nesting sites.
 

The project is considered to be the world’s most extensive beach survey and includes several countries worldwide, such as Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Bahamas, Barbados, United States of America, Mexico, Australia, Costa Rica, Spain, Turkey, Italy, Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Chagos archipelago, Cape Verde, French Guinea, Ghana, Mozambique, Assateague Island, Oman and Israel.
 

The project is in line with Montserrat’s ongoing commitments for an environmentally friendly island. The beaches selected for the pilot micro-plastic project are Woodlands Beach, Carr’s Bay and Little Bay.
 

The aim of the project is to:
 
1. Assemble a worldwide data set of micro plastics (1-5mm) on turtle nesting beaches that would take a global look at this issue between now and early 2020;
 
2. To publish methods and novel results which is anticipated to advise change in policy and legislation surrounding micro plastics as well as informing further research; and
 
3. Highlighting the high quality work done by the University of Exeter and the Rozalia Project. http://www.rozaliaproject.org/

 

On Friday, November 17, His Excellency, Governor Andrew Pearce; Minister of Environment, the Honourable David Osborne; Head of the Governor’s Office, David Arkley; Chief Fisheries and Ocean Governance Officer, Alwyn Ponteen and 4th form Geography students of the Montserrat Secondary School (MSS) met at Carr’s Bay for the collection of samples under the project.
 

The project, involves collecting samples from the ‘strand line’—the highest line of debris left from the retreating tide, and the ‘turtle nesting line’—a point on the path through the typical turtle nesting area. After the samples are collected, they will be sent back to Exeter University, where they will be analysed for the presence of micro plastics.
 

The data set will be co-published with all the contributing scientists as authors and will form a baseline for the sea turtle community and oceanographers on plastic distribution globally. The dataset is expected to be shared by 2020.
 

Micro plastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long which can be harmful to our ocean and aquatic life. Micro plastic contamination of the oceans is one of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns.