Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020AK340B

How far can you go? Tracking deposition of microplastics in Alaska

Institute: Alaska
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-03-01 End Date: 2021-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $36,509 Total Non-Federal Funds: $73,018

Principal Investigators: Dr. Nicole Misarti

Abstract: Microplastics are ubiquitous in terrestrial and aquatic environments and have been found even in remote regions of the world. To date very little is known about atmospheric transport of microplastics through precipitation and whether this occurs in Alaska. Some Alaskans rely on precipitation as a source of drinking water and therefore determining the presence and location of microplastics in precipitation is of importance to state water resource management. This project will mobilize stakeholders to become citizen scientists, collecting rainwater and snowfall that will be filtered and analyzed for the presence of microplastics. Two objectives exist for this project: 1) to discover if microplastics exist in precipitation in Alaska, and if they do, if microplastics persist in remote areas as well as urban locations; and 2) to create a map that can be shared with stakeholders, showing the presence or absence of microplastics from precipitation across the state.