The Oceanography Malta Research Group at the University of Malta has launched a new app which will help educate people on the issue of microplastics in the sea..

The app, ANDROMEDA, is part of the ANDROMEDA Project, which focuses on collecting, analysing, and monitoring microplastics.

It it hoped that the app will raise public awareness and assist scientists in gathering information about microplastics on beaches by using AI to analyze photos and accelerate research efforts. By collecting and photographing microplastics found on the beach, participants can contribute to a European-wide microplastics database, providing valuable information for researchers.

Dr Gulia and Profs Deidun Photo: Profs DeidunDr Gulia and Profs Deidun Photo: Profs Deidun

The ANDROMEDA Project, funded by JPI Oceans, involves 15 international partners and is locally led by Alan Deidun from the University of Malta.  

“By involving the public and using advanced technology, we can collect valuable data that will help us understand the extent of microplastic contamination and work towards effective solutions,” Prof Deidun said. 

Anyone interested in the project can download the app, but to properly participate in the project, they would also need a 0.5 mm sieve, a trowel, a 0.5 m x 0.5 m quadrat, a ruler, a microplastics photo template (available on the ANDROMEDA website), and a glass collection jar.

Those who might not have the necessary equipment can access the equipment at Golden Bay and Għadira Bay, where these items can be collected and returned to Malta Tourism Authority beach supervisors.

 

Microplastics are synthetic particles between 0.001 mm - 5 mm in diameter that originate from various sources and typically end up in the ocean or on beaches.

According to the Pan European non-profit JPI Oceans ( Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans ), the presence of microplastics in our oceans is one of the leading environmental concerns of our time. Microplastic particles can now be found across all ocean basins, ecosystems, habitats, and food webs on earth.

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