Project 9: Spot the Hotspot!
In recent years, it has been increasingly in the news: microplastics. Tiny pieces of plastic found in various products, water, and even in our bodies. In 2023, you can again participate in research to expand our knowledge about macro and microplastics in Dutch waters!
During ‘Spot the Hotspot’, we take action together to map macro- and microplastics in the bodies of water in the Netherlands. Join us and find out how you can contribute to cleaner waters in our country! You can sign up for the project through this forum, where you will find all the important information about the project.
Participating in this research is not only fun but also impactful! By collecting data on the locations and quantities of macroplastics and microplastics in Dutch waters, we learn more about the scale of the plastic pollution problem. Additionally, the data can be used by organizations like the Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland (Delfland Water Authority) to contribute directly to new knowledge about keeping the waters clean in the Netherlands.
Do you want to participate in this project and contribute to cleaner waters? Sign up for the forum and get started!
What will you do?
Spot the Hotspot consists of a "macro" and a "micro" part. You can choose which one to participate in, or you can participate in both!
During the macro part, you will search for plastic "hotspots" in or around the water. These are places where more plastic accumulates than in other areas. It can happen, for example, in slow-moving water, around obstacles in the water, or in busy areas where a lot of waste is disposed of. As a researcher, you will locate these spots and report them to us through an app. You will also indicate the types of plastics you have found. Are there mostly snack wrappers? Or do you see more plastic cups? It's even more fantastic if you can safely remove the plastic waste you find from the water. This way, you are truly contributing to cleaner waters!
In the micro part, you will venture onto the water. You can use a paddleboard or a canoe, for example. Before heading out, you will create your own microplastic net, which allows you to remove debris and even microplastics (<5mm) from the water. Don't worry, this net is easy to assemble and made from readily available materials. Once you have your net and your vessel, you can set off on the water. After 30 minutes of paddling, you will have taken a "sample." You will analyze the contents of your net later and report the different types of plastics you have found.
Both activities can be done individually or in groups.
Want to participate?
Interested? Sign up by clicking the button on the right side of this page and register for our forum. You will find all the important information in one place, and we will contact you shortly after registration.
"I didn't know plastic could be invisible." | "We received many positive responses, especially about your tips on how to prevent microplastics from entering the environment." | "This activity really helps children learn about microplastics!"Participant quotes
What has been done so far?
Spot the Hotspot was also organized last year. The results of that edition are visible on the map at the bottom of this page. This year, we hope to add many more data points to the map to learn more about macro and microplastics in our waters!
Who is participating in this project?
The project is organized and led by Waterlab. The assignment for this project was given by the Hoogheemraadschap van Delfland (Delfland Water Authority). We collaborate with various water sports associations, scouting groups, and nature organizations to make this project possible.
Do you want to participate in this project and contribute to cleaner waters? Sign up on the forum and get started!
You can also stay updated on this project by subscribing to the newsletter! An overview of all previous newsletters can be found here.
Why is (micro)plastic a problem?
It has long been known that plastic waste is a major and challenging problem. Every year, huge amounts of plastic end up on the streets, in water, and in nature. Recently, a "new" form of plastic has been gaining more attention: microplastics. These plastic particles are so small that they are not visible. Large plastic items that end up in nature don't just disappear; they break down into smaller and smaller pieces, ultimately becoming microplastics. Just like macroplastics, these tiny plastic pieces are harmful to nature and to humans. Microplastics are present in water and can also be found in our food. They are often used in cosmetics and personal care products, such as toothpaste, sunscreen, and shampoo, but clothes made out of plastic fibers are also a large source.