PLASTICS POLLUTION SURVEY OF FOUR RIVERS IN MONGOLIA AND THE UNITED STATES
Plastic pollution is of emerging concern globally. Plastics, which enter rivers through a variety of anthropogenic pathways, can negatively impact aquatic organisms through both direct consumption and indirect contamination from absorbed debris. Microplastics are especially difficult to remove from aquatic systems due to their small size, which makes source tracking and input reduction essential. Here, we tested two major hypotheses: first, whether rivers in areas of high population density have higher plastic pollution, and second, whether plastic is transported to rivers by natural factors (wind, runoff, stream flow). We surveyed and collected large ‘macroplastics’ from river shorelines, as well as and absorbed ‘microplastics’ and ‘mesoplastics’ within river at a total of 30 sites in 4 rivers of Mongolia and USA. Preliminary results suggest that plastic pollution is higher in parts of rivers near densely populated settlements. In addition, as the distance from the settlement becomes larger, the density of plastic decreases. We expect natural factors to influence how quickly plastic are transported to the river. Identifying the sources and types of plastics in flowing waters and their shorelines is critical for the development of management actions.
Amarbat Otgonganbat (Primary Presenter/Author), National University of Mongolia, email@example.com;