Q&A: Can green infrastructure keep microplastics out of the environment?

artificial sample prep

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.