Tue15Oct20196:00 pmUptown Coffee, 265 North Lamar Blvd, Oxford, Mississippi
Oxford Science Cafe
Dr. James Cizdziel
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry,
University of Mississippi
Microplastic Pollution: What’s the BIG deal?
Plastics are everywhere! We are living in an age of plastics, much like the Bronze and Iron Ages. Whereas plastics are cheap and useful, they are also carelessly discarded and mismanaged. Unfortunately, this has resulted in widespread plastic pollution, including the infamous ocean garbage patches. Worse, plastics degrade by UV-radiation, microorganisms, and mechanical action (e.g. waves), yielding smaller and smaller particles called micro- and nano-plastics. These small plastic particles accumulate in the food chain and have even been detected in rain! They also accumulate contaminants, including toxic heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and pathogens. I will introduce microplastics as an emerging global pollutant, discuss its sources and impacts, and highlight potential solutions and things we all can do to reduce plastic waste.