Separation and Analysis of Microplastics In Freshwater Lakes, Glacial Lakes, and Ocean Systems Around the Lower Mainland
Microplastic accumulation in our oceans and lakes could have a great impact on our ecosystems and human health. Knowing where the highest accumulation of microplastics is can help inform future environmental and health-related plans. The goal of this paper was to quantify the amount of microplastics found in lakes, glacial lakes, and the Pacific Ocean in the Lower Mainland. Sediment samples were obtained from six different locations with three replicates each, with two being freshwater lakes, glacial lakes, and the ocean respectively. The sediment samples were washed with ethanol and treated with hydrogen peroxide to remove organic matter. Finally, the purified sediment and microplastics were separated by density with a salt solution, and the microplastics were counted in a 450 mm diameter viewing field. There was no statistical difference between the amount of microplastics found in freshwater lakes, glacial lakes, or the Pacific Ocean (p=0.3402). The trends suggest that the Pacific Ocean has the highest accumulation of microplastics present, while freshwater lakes have the least, thus, pointing to the Pacific Ocean to be prioritised in terms of future environmental and health-related plans and policies.