INITIAL SURVEY OF MICROPLASTICS IN THE WATER AND SEDIMENT OF THE KINNICKINNIC RIVER
Plastic debris is an environmentally persistent and complex contaminant that has permeated the aquatic environment. Microplastics are plastic debris less than 5mm in size. Their small size increases the potential for plastic particles to enter food webs which is particularly concerning because plastics contain chemical additives that can sorb toxic contaminants from the surrounding water and sediment such as PCBs, pesticides, and heavy metals. Thus, microplastics are a potential pathway for contaminants to enter food webs, and not only harm aquatic life, but also humans who are dependent on freshwater ecosystems for drinking water and food resources. In this study, microplastic presence was analyzed in the waters and sediments of the Kinnickinnic River in western Wisconsin. Microplastics were present in all water and sediment samples. Discrepancies between the amount and sizes of particles in reduced volume and bulk water samples indicate that the use of sampling devices with large pore sizes dramatically underestimates the presence of microplastics in the environment. The prevalence and distribution of microplastics is widespread throughout the portion of the river that was studied. Microfibers originating from synthetic clothing and textiles represent the greatest proportion of particles.
Claire Simmerman (Primary Presenter/Author), University of Wisconsin - River Falls, firstname.lastname@example.org;