Plastic waste in our rivers, seas and oceans is a hazard to marine life. Much of this waste is categorised as microplastic (<5mm in size) and used as exfoliants in cosmetics or generated when larger pieces of plastic are broken down. These plastics absorb toxins and can be mistaken for food by fish and sea life. Regulators around the world are moving to prevent the further production of microplastics but there is currently no tool for removing these from water.

The following research looks at how a material mix of activated charcoal and terracotta might be used in removing microplastics from seawater.

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— Hope K.

Microplastics | Characteristics and Threats

The threat of microplastic waste to sea life and the marine environment is being researched and documented at present by scientists and activists around the world. The problem is multifaceted where seemingly every natural body of water is affected by waste from a wide range of sources of microplastic pollution. 

Source: 5 Gyres (

Charcoal | Filtering and Adsorption

Charcoal has a massive surface area.

Activated charcoal is altered to increase this surface area through chemical or heat treatment.

The process of adsorption

Charcoal is made by heating natural materials in a reduced oxegen environment.