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PPWG Goal 2: Identification of the most effective equipment for the recovery of macro and microplastics from shorelines and nearshore environments

Spills involving large amounts of microplastics, most notably in the form of plastic pellets, are relatively recent occurrences. Due to the increased awareness, such incidents attract attention from Oil Spill Response Organisations (OSROs), public, private companies and other stakeholders. Every microplastics incident is an opportunity to learn and shape good practice around removal and recovery strategies from different types of shorelines. The most recent incident, which impacted shorelines of Sri Lanka provided a good amount of data on response to microplastics in sandy environments, however there is still a significant gap in understanding how microplastics will behave in different environments and what are the best practices for their removal.

To better understand the issues involving plastic pollution, the UK & Ireland Spill Association and several of its members, formed the Plastic Pollution Working Group (PPWG), in March 2021. The group has set itself ten ambitious goals to improve their understanding of the impacts of plastic pollution, the way we deal with plastic pollution incidents and plastic pollution in general.

As part of achieving Goal two, the report below is intended to identify most effective equipment and strategies for the recovery of microplastics from shorelines and nearshore environment.

The report addresses the current gap in industry good practice and aims to create a valuable source of information on equipment and strategies for response to microplastics to be shared with the industry and the wider audience. Recommendations provided in this report are based on experiences gathered during the most recent microplastics (plastic pellets) spills in Norway and South Africa in 2020 and in Sri Lanka in 2021. It is important to note that research into the best techniques for plastic pellets clean-up is an ongoing venture and will be updated through more equipment trials.


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