An increasing number of organisations are undertaking research, monitoring, and data collection on the presence of plastic contamination in the environment. This information is essential for establishing baseline data to support the establishment of indicators and targets for decision-making to mitigate plastic contamination. Recognising the imperative need for improved data harmonisation, there is a requirement to develop standardised approaches to allow reliable data comparison. This includes developing sets of reproducible practices and guidelines, covering all steps from sample collection, processing, laboratory procedures, and plastic characterisation. It also includes ensuring consistent terminology and data reporting parameters. This manual is part of a suite of marine sampling field manuals that aim to facilitate reliable data comparisons across regions, and national and international collections, by implementing reproducible and comprehensive guidelines, covering all steps from sample collection, processing, laboratory procedures, and plastic characterisation. The approaches in these manuals provide methods for collecting data that are endorsed by researchers, managers, and technicians from multiple agencies with a variety of experience and subject-matter expertise. The manuals follow the FAIR Guiding Principles for scientific data (Wilkinson et al., 2016), aiming to be findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable. See Chapter 1 and Przeslawski et al. (2023) for a description of the process undertaken to develop these manuals. This manual focuses on microplastics in water, sediment, biota and air matrices, and spans everything from sampling design, sample collection, processing and laboratory procedures, and plastics characterisation (i.e., size, shape, polymer composition). It establishes recommended terminology and makes a distinction between essential and desirable data reporting parameters needed to guarantee accurate, efficient and standardised approaches to microplastic analysis in the environment. It also includes a checklist to facilitate reporting. Aligned with international guidelines, such as those set by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) (GESAMP, 2019) the manual is divided into four sections, each dedicated to a specific environmental matrix (Sediment, Water, Air, and Biota). Such information is critical for establishing consistent guidelines in the collection and processing of microplastic data from different environments, enabling scientifically robust comparisons between studies, sites, projects, and organisations at a national level.

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