It’s raining plastic in Canada, scientists say. But no one knows the source or toxicity: National Post

August 28, 2019 by School of Cities Staff

School of Cities faculty affiliate Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, comments in the National Post on the difficulty of tracing microplastic concentrations.

The National Post reports, the level of microplastic concentration is much higher in urban environments such as Toronto than in more remote regions simply due to the wide variety of sources that create/consume plastic. 

Rochman, who researches plastic pollutants in freshwater and marine ecosystems, says part of why it's difficult to identify where microplastics originate is because of the lack of technology to analyze the evidence. “In my lab, we might spend about 40 percent of the time doing method development, which I would love to not have to do.”

She adds microplastic pollution as different from big plastic pollution, namely in its ability to self-transport in ways big plastics can’t. “It’s similar to the way we talk about persistent organic chemical pollutants in that it seems as if they’re everywhere because they have this ability to transport everywhere,” she said. “They have chemicals on them that can bioaccumulate and are toxic.”

Read the article in the National Post