Menorca puts one more beach under the spotlight of citizen science

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The beach at Es Grau has been added to the citizen science programme of “Micro Plastic Watchers” to analyse the sand and look for micro plastics, and is supported with thanks to the Menorca Alliance without Plastic.Micro Plastic Watchers is a citizen’s science project integrated with the Observers of the Sea platform. The objective is to collect data showing the presence and abundance of micro and meso plastics in the marine environment, in order to work on the diagnosis and create awareness of the global problem. The participants collect data monthly from specific beaches, following a scientific protocol for sampling and classifying plastics of different types and sizes.

This month, first grade students from the Secondary School of the Institute of Pasqual Calbó i Caldés, with the advice of GOB technicians, went to the Es Grau beach to take the first samples of sand to analyse for the presence of plastic waste.

Even though the conditions were unfavourable for collecting samples, because of the strong wind and a bank of posidonia that covered the edge of the sea, the students learnt how to take samples by a pre-established methodology from the Observers of the Sea platform. They also learnt that scientists do not always have the best conditions for realizing their investigations and on many occasions have to adapt as best as possible to any adversities.

In Menorca for around two and half years GOB, together with various education centres, have collaborated on this project, analysing the sand from the beaches of Algaiarens to the north and Son Bou to the south. Thanks to the collected data, we find that the concentration of micro plastics, above all the pellets, is greater from the Algaiarens beach of La Vall to the north with 171 plastic fragments per square meter, although at Son Bou, being a large sandy beach of nearly two and a half kilometers the numbers tell us there could be more than a million and a half plastics in the sand.

With the incorporation of the Es Grau beach, data will be obtained from the east coast so increasing our knowledge of the incidence of micro plastics along the coastline of Menorca.

This activity is organised by GOB Menorca within the framework of  Plastic Free Menorca – Menorca Sense Plàstic, promoted by Menorca Preservation and the Menorca Plastic Free Alliance as well as support received with thanks from the Spanish Government Ministry of Social Rights and the Secretary of State for the 2030 Agenda.