Micro Plastic &

Marine Debris Assessment

Indonesia is a large tourist destination with SCUBA diving activities being a large part of marine tourism. Its popularity has led to a massive amount of waste being produced per day. Paired with terrestrial development and poor waste management plastics and other debris has been exposed to the marine environment.

With tourist numbers continuing to grow annually and a changing climate expected to increase regularity of severe weather patterns and precipitation, the problem of marine litter and its impacts is also expected to increase. These compounding factors create major challenges requiring equally sizeable changes to management and policy in Indonesia to reduce the negative impacts of marine debris.

In January 2019, the island of Bali banned all single use plastic bags and utensils. Although this will take several months to implement and enforce, it shows that steps are being taken by the government of Indonesia to create a plastic free paradise. Our plastic survey will contribute to a local and global effort in ocean plastic analysis to create better management strategies for local businesses, consumers, and governments.

In collaboration with Save The Plastic and 5 Gyres, this project has two sampling strategies to create a comprehensive understanding of marine debris and plastic use in the area.

1)  We run 2 beach clean ups per week along the same 500m stretch collecting all foreign debris. The debris is taken back to for sorting, counting, and weighing and is inputted into a data sheet

2)  A ‘Manta Trawl’ is attached to the side of the boat and dragged slowly during a slack tide to collect micro plastics and other surface debris. A manta trawl is made up of a pole and mesh net to filter the water and collect micro plastics. The collection is sorted weighed and measured and inputted into the data sheet.

Locations: Penida, Bunaken, Bira