The purpose of Coastal Action’s Atlantic Canada Microplastic Research Project (2017-2020) is to determine the quantity and type of microplastics in marine environments of three near-shore communities of Atlantic Canada. Data will be used to better inform the conversation and solutions around plastic pollution in the region. The project is funded by Environment and Climate Change Canada’s Atlantic Canada Ecosystem Initiative and is in partnership with Clean Annapolis River Project (CARP), ACAP Humber Arm, Dr. Max Liboiron and her team at the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). Dr. Max Liboiron is our chief academic advisor on the 3-year project, assisting with project development, methods and protocol, and sampling design and equipment.

In 2018 and 2019, project partners sampled surface water and beach sediment at all three study locations (Annapolis Basin/Bay of Fundy; Humber Arm/Gulf of St. Lawrence; LaHave River Estuary/Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Coast). A report on the project’s 2018 surface water data is currently available on Coastal Action’s website. A full report on all data will be available in the summer of 2020.

Speaker: Ariel Smith, Coastal & Marine Team Lead, Coastal Action
Ariel graduated from Concordia University in 2017 with a Masters of Environmental Assessment (MEnv) and has five years of experience in project creation, leadership and data collection focused on the issue of marine debris and microplastics. Over the past four years, Ariel developed and led the Atlantic Canada Microplastic Research Project. The project includes partnership management, sample collection (surface water and sediment), organizing training, and overseeing data collection region-wide. Ariel is chair of the Microplastic Working Group, formed in November 2019 during the second annual Clean Ocean Summit in Halifax, NS. In addition to microplastics research and education, Ariel created Coastal Action’s Ocean Friendly Nova Scotia program which works with businesses across the province to eliminate single-use plastics at their establishments. The program completed a pilot in Lunenburg in the spring of 2020 and will expand to more communities across Nova Scotia in the coming year.