Since joining this project six months ago I have become increasingly aware of just how polluted the natural environment is with plastic. Seemingly innocent items that we would never consider being problematic, such as toothpaste or facial scrubs – and even glitter! – are contributing to this major global issue. While I make a daily conscious effort to reduce it, it is almost impossible to buy groceries and other goods without plastic packaging. On a positive note, there does appear to be a greater public awareness around this issue, as when people ask about my work they are all able to report on a news article or documentary they saw recently.
My name is Linda, and my research is currently focused on the movement of microplastics through the soil and what processes might be hindering this. I’ll investigate this by looking at how simulated rainfall may move these plastic particles through columns of soil. This migration through soil is considered a potential pathway into groundwater, which poses a threat to our aquatic species and even drinking water. It has been a slow start however, as despite the vast amount of microplastics available in the environment, they are not the easiest to get hold of commercially. While I should be grateful of this for the environments sake, I’m really just itching to continue my testing! I’m hopeful that I have found a solution to this, so I will have more to report on in my next post.