A Juxtaposition of Airborne Microplastics and Fiber Contamination in Various Environments
(1) Williamston High School, Williamston, Michigan
Microplastics can have detrimental effects on various wildlife, as well as pollute aquatic and atmospheric environments. The term microplastics refers to miniscule pieces of plastic that are either deliberately produced at that small size or are broken down from larger pieces of plastic. This study focused on air samples collected from five locations to investigate microplastic concentrations in atmospheric fallout from indoor and outdoor settings, through a process utilizing a hand-held vacuum pump and a rotameter. The samples were collected over a five-month period, and the number, as well as the morphologies, of the microplastics were recorded for each of the five sample locations. The amount of microplastic debris found in the urban setting was larger compared to the amount found in the rural setting. Furthermore, we found that the difference between the average number of microplastic fragments and fibers collected from all locations was not large enough to be statistically significant. Since the amount of published research on airborne microplastics is very minimal, the results collected in this study will help us better understand the prevalence of airborne microplastics.
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