Following on from their current research project about plastics in the ocean, Nexus 7 today had a visit from three postgraduate students at the University of Exeter who have done research all over the world about the impact of plastic waste on the marine environment. The postgraduate students told the Nexus students about how they collected their data, and also led the students through several practical activities to remove and identify plastics from marine environments.
The students first sifted the sand to find larger pieces of plastic, then the sample was put into water, so that the smaller pieces of plastics and microplastics would float the top. Finally, students used microscopes to identify and sort the plastics into categories; fragments; foam; line and film.
The session with the postgraduate students was hugely useful for the students; real scientists doing important work to support the environment. Many thanks to the University of Exeter for facilitating this insight into an exciting STEM career.