Mentor: Dr. Amanda Suchy
Research: Microplastics Concentrations in Mount Pleasant Water Ways Compared to Land Use and Road Density
As plastics have become more prevalent in global pollution from all industries, a better understanding of their concentrations in the freshwater environment is needed. This experiment examined the quantity of microplastics found in waterways in and around Mount Pleasant, MI. I hypothesized that high road density and urbanized land usage could increase microplastic concentrations in local waterways. Nine ponds were sampled with three one-liter samples from each pond taken and filtered to assess the amount of microplastics they contained. The filtered plastics were counted via observation under a dissection scope and sorted by color and shape. For each pond, I quantified macroplastics (trash) and divided the land into campus and non-campus areas and analyzed their relationship to microplastic concentrations. By determining a link between microplastic concentrations and macroplastic concentrations, more targeted solutions to the problem can be generated to limit micro plastics from entering the environment. There was found to be a correlation between macroplastics and microplastics.