These prizes, which were made public today, Monday, May 22, at an event organized by Ars Electronica, represent an innovative initiative within the European framework to recognize the most outstanding proposals that promote research, innovation, commitment and creativity in the service of our society.
Fighting microplastics pollution
Surfing for Science is a participatory science project that studies the presence of microplastics on the Catalan coast to determine their origin and abundance and thus know the impact they have on the environment and global health. The jury of the award stressed that the " consequences for the planet's ecosystems of microplastic pollution are a matter of immense importance. Coastal environments potentially contain significant amounts of floating microplastics, with harmful implications for marine ecosystems".
"Surfing for Science —they add— works with people who are sensitive to the marine environment, collecting microplastic samples from near-shore areas using a net that can be towed from paddleboards, kayaks, paddleboats and so on. The analysis of these samples helps to gather vital data to understand the impact of this anthropogenic material in an understudied coastal area".
The project, in which the company Asensio Comunicació Visual also collaborates, includes the participation of researchers William P. de Haan and Oriol Uviedo, among other experts of the GRC in Marine Geosciences of the UB Faculty of Earth Sciences. Surfing for Science, which is supported by the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology (FECYT), has been implemented in Catalonia and the Basque Country —so far more than 50,000 microplastics have been categorised— and it is expected to start in the Balearic Islands.
It should be noted that the competition also awarded an honorary mention to the GEOVACUI-2 project, a citizen science and cooperation initiative led by the Complutense University of Madrid against the depopulation of rural areas in which Professor Javier Martín-Vide, from the Department of Geography of the Faculty of Geography and History of the UB, participates.