Plastic Pollution in Surface Waters of Sonoma County


Plastics are synthetic polymers that are used widely around the world due to their flexibility and easy accessibility. Non-biodegradable because they persist for up to hundreds or thousands of years (fragmentation). Fragmentation via environmental factors affected by buoyancy in aquatic environments, which is dependent on their densities. Our goal was to investigate the types of plastics from Driftwood Beach, CA in order to determine ways to mitigate their presence in our environment and aid local policy makers. The Russian River is a freshwater source that flows directly through Sonoma County and bleeds into the Pacific Ocean at the location of Driftwood Beach. To determine the type of plastic, FTIR was employed due to distinct spectra of each polymer. Using standard beads, MagLev was also used to determine the type of polymer based on its density in a paramagnetic solution (MnCl2). Based on IR spectra, PS > PET > PE = PP = pVC. presence of plastic debris is a hazard to wildlife and human health.


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Plastic Pollution in Surface Waters of Sonoma County poster scientific poster Cesar A. Torres, Catherine Kingsbury


Key Terms: polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinyl chloride, polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, marine debris