AUSMAP FINALIST FOR 2021 AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM EUREKA PRIZE

The Australian Microplastic Assessment Project (AUSMAP) which is tracking microplastic pollution along Australia’s waterways has been selected as a finalist for the 2021 Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources Eureka Prize for Innovation in Citizen Science. 

The Australian Museum Eureka Prizes are Australia’s most comprehensive national science awards, honouring achievements across the areas of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement, and school science.  The category “Innovation in Citizen Science” award demonstrates excellence in citizen science practice, through innovative research and community engagement projects.

Plastic pollution is a global problem.  AUSMAP aims to address this through citizen science by collecting scientifically valid data and designing effective mitigation strategies.  The global first, nationwide citizen science program engages people of all ages to document plastic pollution.  It is a fully immersive experience that educates communities to reduce their plastic footprint, while empowering ambassadors for long-term behavioural change.

AUSMAP, led by Program Director Dr Michelle Blewitt from the Total Environment Centre and Dr Scott Wilson from Macquarie University, works with a consortium of research, environment, education, government and sustainable business organisations.  During the past three years, over 700 citizen scientists have removed more than 3 million pieces of microplastics.  Dr Blewitt is very proud of her team, “The impressive contribution from citizen scientists has assisted AUSMAP to create an entire ‘source to solution pathway’, from identifying microplastic hotspots to finding effective solutions.”

“This is the first time anyone has attempted a multi-faceted management approach to micro-litter while empowering citizen scientists to have a significant impact in generating sustainable environmental solutions,” said Dr Scott Wilson, Research Director of AUSMAP.

Jeff Angel, Director of the Total Environment Centre which founded AUSMAP, said, “Plastic pollution is one of the most critical environmental issues of our time.  Each year, more and more plastic is contaminating the marine and human food chain, lasting many, many decades.  Shining a light on it; engaging the community; and working on solutions with government and business is essential.”

The AM Eureka Prizes winners will be announced on Thursday 7 October at a live broadcast event. The event will be open to all audiences and free to stream online. Register for the awards at australian.museum/eurekaprizes.

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