Analysis of Micro Plastic Particles in Beach Sediment of South Texas
Abstract: Plastic debris is identified alongside climate change as a top environmental issue that affects the ability to conserve biological diversity in the near future. The majority of plastic debris consists of microplastics (< 5 mm) that tamper with the ecosystem through chemical and mechanical circumstances. They have been reported to accumulate at different trophic levels in the food chain, affect organisms at both tissue and cellular levels, and act as the carriers of hydrophobic toxic chemicals and pathogens. Previous studies have primarily focused on marine and coastal environments, with very limited information about microplastic occurrence in coastal watersheds. Moreover, many previous research efforts deal with the small-scale spectrum of microplastic analysis. Due to this, there is a lack of understanding of the quantity and quality of these micro plastic particles created from daily human activities. This study is aimed to investigate the quality and composition of microplastics in a typical human-distributed beach in Corpus Christi, Texas. A set of six sand samples were extracted at a depth of 5 inches off the surface. Microplastics were separated in these samples by using both standard manual procedures suggested by NOAA and a designed semi-automatic apparatus based on an experiment done by. The extracted particles were further analyzed using spectroscopy methods and compared to the spectra of commercial plastic samples. The results are still under investigation, as it the experiment is still underway.
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