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Friday 30 January 2015

Solent Graduate wins national green IT competition

Aldous, who graduated in Geography from Southampton Solent before going on to a Masters in Applied Marine Science at Plymouth University came up with the idea of designing a robot which could collect marine litter from our oceans, allowing a more green and sustainable future for our oceans.


Aldous explains: “The world’s oceans are currently suffering from large amounts of marine litter, with plastic items being the biggest problem.

“It has been estimated that there are 5.25 trillion plastic particles floating in the sea, with many more trillion pieces on the sea floor. These pieces of plastic get broken down into ever smaller pieces, resulting in microplastics.

“Both microplastics and larger plastic items are a major threat to marine life with animals getting caught in items such as abandoned fishing nets and eating smaller particles with krill – tiny crustaceans that live in the world’s oceans and are at the bottom of the marine food chain.

“This is a major issue and, at the current time, little is being done to rid the oceans of this plastic waste.”

Aldous first became interested in microplastics through a group project in his final year as an undergraduate at Southampton Solent. The group could choose from a list of topics and his group chose microplastics in beach and estuarine sediments.

“We collected nine samples from over 25 different beaches in East Anglia and in the Southampton area”, explains Aldous, “and found that every sample from every beach contained microplastic particles. The results inspired me to investigate further with a plankton trawl of Southampton Water for microplastics. The results have now been presented at a conference and will be published in March of this year.”

Aldous has now been involved in a number of different projects regarding marine pollution from microplastic and plastic debris with Southampton Solent and says this is likely to continue well into the future.

“I see myself helping to create methods and ideas and implementing policies to reduce the amount of litter and other pollution sources which enter our seas” he concludes. “This sort of work is vital if marine species are to survive and our ocean is to have a green and sustainable future."