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Microplastics in the Snowpack on the Wasatch Mountains

Year: 2023

Presenter Name: Andersen Haslam

Andersen W. Haslam, Anthony Phasay, Sara S. Rocks
Department of Chemistry, Utah Valley University, Orem, Utah, USA Microplastics have been contaminating natural waters and lands in even the most remote areas of the globe. Microplastics are synthetic particles less than 5 mm in diameter and are the result of mismanaged plastic waste. Most research regarding the concentrations of microplastics has been carried out on the world's oceans. Little is known about the effect of microplastic distribution in terrestrial environments and the long-term health impacts for humans. This research is focused on quantifying the concentration of microplastics in snowpack located in the Wasatch mountains in Utah, USA. The snowpack blanketing the Wasatch mountains serve as the major water supply for Salt Lake City and surrounding cities. While these mountainous regions remain mostly uninhabited, that does not eliminate the threat of microplastic pollution due to their ability to travel large distances in the wind. Snow samples were taken in various locations on the Wasatch mountains at different depths to determine the prevalence of microplastics. Plastics were then identified and counted using fluorescent dye and light microscopy. Quantifying the plastic content in the snowpack will contribute to the scientific evidence combatting the overconsumption of plastic.
University / Institution: Utah Valley University
Type: Poster
Format: In Person
Presentation #B89
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Science & Technology
Faculty Mentor: Sally Rocks