The Environment Agency–Abu Dhabi (EAD) and the Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council (QCC) announced a landmark partnership to address the growing global challenge of microplastic pollution in the Abu Dhabi marine environment. This pioneering study, the first of its kind in the emirate, marks a crucial step in understanding and mitigating the impacts of microplastic contamination on our marine ecosystems.

This collaboration, which started in 2022 and will continue until 2025, brings together EAD’s scientific marine expertise and research capabilities with QCC’s state-of-the-art laboratory techniques and analysis proficiency. This synergy aims to conduct a comprehensive assessment of microplastic levels, providing invaluable insights into the health of our marine environment.

The initial environmental survey was conducted in 2022, undertaken by EAD’s marine team aboard ‘Jaywun’, the region’s most advanced marine research vessel. One hundred water samples were collected during a research mission, which covered the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Gulf, and Abu Dhabi waters. Sediment samples were also collected from Abu Dhabi’s coast. All samples have been analysed by QCC, and the results have provided insight into the extent of the issue.

Assessment of the data by EAD has started to provide answers on the status of microplastic pollution. These findings are crucial to understanding the impact of these pollutants on marine organisms and will inform ongoing comprehensive environmental surveys encompassing water, sediment, and biota in emirate’s marine environment. The alliance between EAD and QCC will create a methodology regimen, revolutionising the sampling and analysis of marine microplastics.