Document Type



This review discusses what microplastics are and how they are continuously impacting the marine environment, and ultimately, human life. Plastic has been the number one used material for decades for industrial and recreational purposes. Its cost effectiveness, durability, and lightness are what manufacturers and consumers desire most, making plastic the most abundant pollutant in the world. Understanding how plastic pollution is broken down into microplastics and how these fragmented pieces of waste are classified can help researchers identify ways to prevent the additional input of microplastics in the marine environment. These microscopic particles of debris have been sampled from deep-sea sediment, meaning plastic pollution has been transported to great distances across various oceans. By using the knowledge of natural processes regarding the Earth’s rotation and the formation of transport currents throughout the water column, discussing how plastic pollution and microplastics reach these depths can be supported. Although the presence of microplastic in the ocean has become a major issue in terms of accumulation, marine life is being threatened due to the toxic elements within many plastic polymers. By conducting further research on microplastics and understanding how they impact the marine environment, manufacturers and consumers become educated on the dangers of plastic use, leading to goals of reducing the amount of plastic waste continuously accumulating all over the world.


Geological Sciences

Thesis Comittee

Dr. Peter Saccocia, Thesis Advisor
Dr. Christine Brandon, Committee Member
Dr. Robert Cicerone, Committee Member

Included in

Geology Commons