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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: https://research.sit.ac.nz/jspui/handle/123456789/29
Title: Investigation of Microplastic Concentrations in Invercargill City Waterways.
Authors: Edginton, Niamh
Keywords: microplastics
Invercargill waterways
plastic pollution
Issue Date: Nov-2019
Abstract: Plastic pollution is currently at the forefront of concern and the impacts of microplastics may exacerbate existing degradation of aquatic ecosystems. The longevity of plastic is estimated to be hundreds to thousands of years, meaning that, apart from what has been incinerated, the vast majority of all plastic ever made persists in the environment. Plastics make up between 60% and 80% of all marine debris and are identified alongside climate change as a contributing factor in biodiversity loss around the globe. Microplastics are classified as small plastic particles no larger than 5mm, which have either been originally manufactured to that size (e.g. personal care products, medicines) or fragmented from larger plastic debris. Over the past decade, studies have revealed that microplastics are wide-spread, common within the coastal environment. Microplastics have the potential to cause harm to biota, poses a threat to public health and causes biodiversity loss. The small size of the plastic particles makes them available to organisms throughout the food web and their composition makes them prone to adhering to waterborne organic pollutants and toxins. Microplastics can originate from ocean-based sources, but it is believed that 80% comes from terrestrial sources. Thus, it is important to investigate city waterways as pathways for microplastics to tackle the issue of these hazards in aquatic environments. Microplastic studies are being conducted around the globe but minimal research has been performed in freshwater city environments. This research focuses on two inner city streams in Invercargill city as pathways for microplastics to reach the coastal environment. Particle samples were collected using a 333μm plankton net placed in the upper water column of the streams. An oxidisation and density separation method was applied to separate and determine the amount of microplastics in the samples. The research has shown that microplastic particles are present in both streams, with 11 out of 16 samples showing presence of microplastics. These waterways lead to the ocean and will be contributing to plastic pollution of valuable ecosystems. This study highlights the need for mitigation and management strategies in the area of plastic pollution in inner-city waterway as they are a point source for pollution.
URI: https://research.sit.ac.nz/jspui/handle/123456789/29
Appears in Collections:School of Environmental Management

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