PML researchers have been awarded funding towards an innovative microplastics project through Plan Plastic: The Million Pound Challenge, a £1 million grant fund from Waitrose & Partners designed to tackle plastic pollution.
Working with environmental charity Hubbub, the fund attracted over 150 applications, and five organisations have been selected to receive a share of the £1 million fund, including Plymouth Marine Laboratory. The diverse group of winners, from marine scientists to pioneering charities, all demonstrated innovation in tackling plastic pollution.
The PML project, ‘Removing Marine Microplastics with Mussel Power’, is headed up by PML scientists Dr Matthew Cole and Dr Pennie Lindeque. They aim to develop a unique ecological solution to microplastic pollution using beds or rafts of mussels which can filter out microplastics from the water. The project will help determine whether these ‘bioreefs’ will work in the fight against plastic waste.
Dr Cole said: “We are delighted to have received funding from Waitrose and Hubbub UK to explore whether mussels could help play a role in stemming the flow of microplastics from source to sea. Microplastics are a persistent and widespread pollutant, and our research has highlighted the negative effects they can have on sensitive marine species. In this innovative project we will be exploring whether the filtering power of our native mussels can be harnessed to help remove microplastics and other types of pollution from coastal and estuarine waters."