MicroAtlântico: an initiative to monitor marine litter and microplastics

Figura 4

2020 was the year of sampling on board the Portuguese ships Sagres and Almirante Gago Coutinho. In 2021, the MicroAtlântico initiative is dedicated to the analysis of approximately 200 samples collected in part of the Atlantic Ocean.

Aiming at monitoring marine litter and microplastics, the initiative called MicroAtlântico, financed by the EEA Grants Bilateral Relations Fund, , is promoted by the Hydrographic Institute and has the Norwegian entity NIVA, Faculdade de Cências da Universidade de Lisboa and Faculdade e Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade Nova de Lisboa as partners.

MicroAtlântico started with the collection of around 200 samples by the Sagres and Almirante Gago Coutinho vessels in a considerable area of the Atlantic Ocean. Samples were collected in Canary Islands, Cape Verde, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town.

Within the scope of this project and the bilateral agreement between the Hydrographic Institute and NIVA, the samples collected during the trips will be divided by the two institutes in order to create a sharing of knowledge and experiences.

At the moment, the two institutes are participating in a microplastics analysis exercise in order to assess the variations caused by the procedures applied in the respective laboratories and to harmonize the microplastics analysis methods.

The MicroAtlântico initiative also foresees the visit of a Norwegian researcher to Portugal, the preparation of a technical report, and the communication and dissemination of results, among other activities.