You may have heard of the Great Pacific garbage patch, but the majority of plastic waste in the environment is more subtle: tiny particles ranging from the size of a pea to the thickness of a human hair — and even smaller.
A team of U of T Engineering researchers — including Professor Elodie Passeport (CivMin, ChemE), Professor Jennifer Drake (CivMin) and CivMin PhD student Kelsey Smyth — studies what happens to these microplastics as they make their way into ditches, streams, rivers and lakes, especially during heavy rainstorms. In a paper published earlier this year, they show that human-engineered structures known as bioretention cells are a useful strategy for controlling microplastics in the environment.
Writer Tyler Irving sat down with Passeport to talk about some of her recent research. Read the full interview at U of T Engineering News.