Ferry users educated on environment during festival

Four experts from the University of Portsmouth stood with sieves in front of the beach and with boxes of sand in front of them. They are wearing purple University of Portsmouth branded t-shirts.
Travellers between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight sieve for microplastics [Wightlink]

Ferry passengers have been given an insight into the state of England's seas as part of a weekend of environmental events.

Experts from the University of Portsmouth have teamed up with Wightlink to run workshops for people travelling between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.

Passengers have taken part in activities that raise awareness of plastic pollution and how to protect marine environments.

It forms part of the Biosphere Festival, where more than 50 events have taken place across the Isle of Wight to celebrate the island's Unesco Biosphere Reserve status.

On Wightlink’s St Clare ferry, between Portsmouth and Fishbourne, travellers had the chance to sieve for microplastics and observe how these particles float, while on their 45-minute crossing.

Georgios Georgiou from the University of Portsmouth's Revolution Plastics Institute, said plastic production was expected to "quadruple by 2050", leading to even greater levels of microplastics in the environment.

"We hope to provide a valuable learning experience for passengers travelling to and from the Isle of Wight," he said.

"Especially for children, as they are the next generation it’s important they realise the threat of microplastics on themselves and the environment.”

'Inspiring proactive steps'

Dr Ian Hendy, from the University's Institute of Marine Sciences, said they hoped that by involving families and ferry passengers in the "hands-on scientific activities", it would raise awareness about marine biodiversity.

He said: "It’s about fostering a deeper connection with our environment and inspiring proactive steps to protect it."

Wightlink chief executive Keith Greenfield said: "As our ferries sail through some of the UK’s most beautiful coastal waters, we are delighted to highlight the importance of marine life to Biosphere Festival visitors."

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