Exploration of the Plastisphere in the Chthulucene. Participatory science for microplastic monitoring on a sailboat at LNI in Anzio

On the 25th of March 2023 I organised a short marine exploration in Anzio (Rome) with Luisa Galgani (GEOMAR Kiel, CNR-ISMAR) and the support of Federico Fornaro, director of the local section of the Italian Naval League, to test a Neuston Net for marine microplastic collection on a sailbot. Together with a crew of volunteers and video-makers of Raw-News, we confirmed the possibility of performing the micro-plastic sampling sustainably (without using engines), under specific atmospheric/sea conditions and boat characters. Antonella Passani (T6Ecosystems) and the team of the Servizi Marittimi Anzio joined us to discuss potential applications in research projects.

We also successfully tested some do-it-yourself research trawl for monitoring ocean plastic, called baby-legs, on a sailbot.

The test is part of my research in Marine Social Science, focusing on:

  • radically participatory (i.e. relying on the tacit knowledge of the locals) and citizens’ science practices for marine social science;
  • the relationship between society and the sea, in terms of ocean literacy and commitment to sustainable behaviours (in and out of the sea), notably by investigating the cultural territorialisation of the oceans (i.e. the process of symbolic attribution of meaning to different marine spaces) as a means for tightening society’s emotional attachment to the marine environment; and on
  • the adoption the Chthulucene perspective to describe the sympoietic process involving underwater life and non-living matter (a consequence of the anthropic activities) leading to a transformation of the marine environment. Most notably, pervasive plastic pollution represents a major challenge to the health of oceans and the whole life-supporting systems on the Earth.

More soon on all of these topics…

Thanks everybody for being curious and supportive!

[Photoes C.Certomà and Servizi Marittimi Anzio]

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