Research

Microplastics Monitoring Project

We sample river water and sediments across the Front Range of Colorado for the presence of microplastics and microfibers. 

Ocean First Institute samples for microplastics in our local waterways.

The impact of humanity is being felt in ecosystems around the world. It is literally raining plastic and new research shows we have plastic in our blood and in our unborn babies. Our plastic centric, convenience based living has become highly impactful on the environment and has led to a wide-ranging presence of chemical and plastic pollution. Microplastics, or plastics 5 mm in length or smaller, are pervasive due to their small size and their ability to break down but not decompose, and the perpetual manufacture of plastics around the world. It is their ability to potentially travel through food webs and uptake harmful chemicals and trace metals, however, that make them dangerous.

Ocean First Institute has been funded to provide a free microplastics monitoring programming in 6 counties within the Front Range region of Colorado. Participating high schools will monitor their local watershed by collecting water and sediment samples and filtering them to verify and quantify microplastics. Additionally, students will learn how they can prevent microplastics from entering their watersheds.

This project is generously funded through the Scientific Cultural Facilities District.