Conor O’Sullivan

Conor O’Sullivan is an undergraduate student of Environmental Studies and Psychology at Hunter College, of the City University of New York.  His research interests are broad in both fields but focuses mainly on Sustainability, and the effects of Climate Change in the field of Environmental Studies, and Health & Nutritional Neurology in the field of Psychology.  Also, as an avid environmentalist and volunteer he has worked as an environmental educator for the state of New York.  He has taught children, adolescents and adults about ecology, sustainability and climate change, as well as assisted in the growth of environmental grassroots organizations.  Conor is currently planning a community greenhouse to teach children and young people about edible, native plants to Long Island and the New york Metropolitan area.  He believes that through applied research and community organizations change can be possible.  He plans to continue researching and integrating the knowledge gained in both fields of study for the purpose of helping to attain a healthy and sustainable world.

Microplastics: An Issue of Scale


Microplastics (> 1μm to < 1 mm) are a pollutant waste product of the industrial, and consumer-driven economies of the 20th and 21st centuries. The prevalence of microplastics in the world’s oceans and on the world’s continents is directly related to the unchecked production, consumption and improper disposal, decomposition and subsequent leaching of plastic particles from macroplastic (> 1 mm) items, such as plastic pellets or plastic bags. This is cause for great ecological and human health concern at all geographical scales. Research literature was gathered from electronic research databases to develop an understanding of how such pollution is effecting marine ecosystems, and the feasibility of adapting to and mitigating both current and future damage at an international level. This paper will serve as a literature review of research results across relevant disciplines of marine ecology, biology, law and policy, and technology in hopes of accurately assessing the effects of microplastics as an international pollution issue and how we may attain and sustain the health of our world’s oceans for the future. Results remain inconclusive as to how feasible detoxifying the world’s oceans may be, as concerted efforts on all scales of governments worldwide to mitigate the issue have not been and are still not commonplace, though smaller projects show some promise. Seemingly, the filtering of microscopic plastic particles is costly, inefficient and the damage may be here to stay for quite some time, even with concerted effort at all levels of geographic scale.

Keywords: Microplastics, production, decomposition, health, mitigation, adaption

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