Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2021

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)


Environmental Studies


Edward Van Buren


This paper addresses the issue of the presence of microplastics in NYC waters and how existing policy, in combination with a lack of research, fails to acknowledge the risk and harm of this type of pollution. Additionally, it presents the Bronx River as an example of a specific body of water in New York City and employs the following disciplines to analyze microplastic pollution. Chapter 1 uses ecological research to define microplastic pollution and discuss how this type of pollution is a problem far more vast and complicated than it is widely considered to be. Chapter 2 delves into environmental health concerns that microplastic pollution presents to both human and non-human species. Chapter 3 demonstrates how urban planning is instrumental to the health of those residing in urban areas and how a lack of proper management allows microplastics to infiltrate aquatic ecosystems in New York City through poor sewage management and food chains. In Chapter 4, the Bronx River and its history of pollution is examined, along with the correlation of plastic pollution with public health issues in a historically socioeconomically disadvantaged area. Chapter 5 integrates the above chapters as a list of policy actions to mitigate plastic pollution in NYC water bodies, especially the Bronx River.