Microplastics Citizen Science Field Trip – the Video

The NIRIN 2020 Biennale of Sydney rolls on!

After being shut down due to COVID19 from March to June, the exhibition venues for the Biennale have re-opened until September/October. This is great news if you want to take the ferry to Cockatoo Island and see Plastic-free Biennale in the flesh, alongside a plethora of brilliant artworks from around the world.

While the exhibition is back on, public gatherings for scheduled events are still not allowed. We had planned two “Citizen Science Microplastics Field Trips” for kids and adults as a public program component of our project. But these were cancelled. Our plan had been to take people to a beach in Sydney Harbour. Participants would sift the supposedly pristine sand and discover how microplastics are everywhere. Alas, it was not to be.

Instead we used this period of isolation to make a “virtual field trip” – a video featuring our colleague, University of Wollongong microplastics researcher Nuwanthi Kanchana. In the video, Nuwanthi takes us through the basics, searching for the dastardly coloured fragments a Wollongong beach. It’s a bit like panning for gold!

If you look closely, you’ll see some cameos by our collaborators the Sisters of Perpetual Plastics, as well as Albie from kids’ music group The Plastic Highlighters. Credit to our friends at WayWard Films for shooting and editing the video.

And remember, despite all the attention given to COVID, the plastics crisis has not gone away. On the contrary, it’s intensified the production and disposal of plastic products, essential in protective products to keep humans safe. Plastic gloves, plastic masks, single use bottles of hand sanitiser, plastic packaging used by the postal service… The pandemic has ushered in an acceleration of plastic use. The focus has been on human health at the expense of environmental health.

masks wash up on the beach
Environmental activist Gary Stokes collected dozens of discarded masks from a Hong Kong beach in February.(Oceans Asia) – from article at the LA Times.

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