University of Alabama Microplastics in Tampa Bay Preliminary Research Paper

Question Description

This is an individual assignment

3 pages assignment

Descriptions of most of the steps below can be found in chapter 1 of your Engineering Economic Analysis textbook in the “The Decision-Making Process” section.

Step 1: Background Research (“Recognize the problem,” Ch. 1 of your Engineering Economic Analysis textbook)

Read/watch/listen to/view the resources provided for you on the Canvas Page: “Microplastics Problem Background Information” (linked here and available in the Weeks 3 & 4 module). Familiarize yourself with the microplastics issue, and the 2019 study on microplastics in Tampa Bay. You should conduct additional background research as necessary, ensuring that you use only credible sources.

Step 2: Research Global Approaches (“Assemble the relevant data,” Ch. 1 of your Engineering Economic Analysis textbook)

This is where you will begin to assemble the relevant data (see the “Decision-Making Process” section of your economics textbook). You will continue to assemble the relevant data in future assignments; for now, focus on the questions below. In your submission, number your answers 1-5, and include the bolded title preceding each question; for questions that ask for several specific examples, label each example (a, b, c, or as bullet points) below the title.

Conduct research to find out how the microplastics issue is being addressed globally and answer the following questions:

  1. Research: What research is being conducted on microplastics around the world? (Think about fields/areas of research, research on cleanup and prevention, health impacts, etc.) List 3 specific examples of micropalstics research being done in 3 non-US countries.
    • Country 1: Description of research
    • Country 2: Description of research
    • Country 3: Description of research
  2. Inventions and Solutions: What kinds of inventions or solutions have been or are being developed to address the issue of marine plastics and microplastics? Include the 3 inventions listed on the information page, as well as 2 additional inventions you find through independent research (put these at the top). For all 5 examples, include the following:

    • The name/title of the invention/solution
    • The name(s) of the inventor/creator and where they are from
    • A description of the invention/solution (~2-4 sentences)
    • An explanation of how the invention/solution is being or will be implemented (~2-4 sentences)
    • An image that shows the invention/solution
  3. Global Government Interventions: From a policy/governmental perspective, offer 2 examples of how non-US countries are addressing the plastics and microplastics problem. Include the following:

    • The name of the country and, if applicable, the name of the specific city/region/etc. where the intervention/policy is in place
    • A description of the intervention/policy (~2-6 sentences)
  4. US Government Interventions: Describe examples in 2 US states other than Florida that show how state governments are attempting to address the microplastics problem. Include the following:

    • The name of the state and, if applicable, the name of the specific city/county/perish/etc. where the intervention/policy is in place
    • A description of the intervention/policy (~2-6 sentences)
  5. Florida Government Interventions: What official measures (policies, interventions, initiatives, etc.) have been taken by government in Florida and the Greater Tampa Bay Area (Links to an external site.) that address plastic pollution? Include 2 specific examples of official policies, interventions, etc., 1 of which must be from the Greater Tampa Bay Area. Include the following:

    • The name of the city/county where the measure (intervention, policy, etc.) was proposed and approved, and the name of the official or governing body that proposed and approved it
    • A description of the measure (~2-6 sentences)
    • How the measures were received, and what kind of backlash or resistance they faced (~2-6 sentences)
    • Whether or not the measure is still in place, and the name of the official or governing body that either implemented or discontinued the measure
      • Note: “propose and approve” and “implement” are different and may have been completed in different ways or by different leadership

Step 3: Define the Problem (“Recognize the problem,” Ch. 1 of your Engineering Economic Analysis textbook)

  • Define the problem: In 1-2 paragraphs, offer a clear, detailed, specific definition of the microplastics problem as you understand it. Include all relevant contextualizing information, including where microplastics come from,
    • Note: You are being asked to describe/define what the problem is, you are not being asked to define the term “microplastic.” Responses that describe what microplastics are rather than what problem(s) arise from their existence will earn 0 points
  • Define the microplastics problem as specifically related to Tampa Bay: In ~1 paragraph, specifically define the problem as it relates to Tampa Bay.

Step 4: Propose an Engineering Solution

The microplastics problem is extensive, and through your research, you have learned about a variety of ways that it is being addressed, and about some of the engineering solutions being developed to tackle plastic pollution. Now you will consider and propose a potential engineering solution that you will present to your team. Your proposed engineering solution must satisfy and include the following:

  • Your solution must be clearly linked to the problem statement, and must be designed to alleviate the stated problem in some way.
  • Your solution must be an engineering solution; while starting a nonprofit or encouraging policy changes might serve as part of your overall plan, you must propose some kind of tangible solution.
    • Solutions can span all fields of engineering and computer science, and your team’s final proposal may be a combination of team member ideas that include the integration of several fields of engineering.
  • Your solution must be designed specifically for the Tampa Bay area, but with the long term vision of broadening the solution (probably with some modifications) to other cities, states, and/or countries.

Extra Credit Opportunity: Include a sketch, diagram, illustration, map, etc. that acts as a visual aid to help readers/viewers understand how your solution works. Extra credit will only be awarded if the visual aid is well done, thoughtfully rendered, and labeled. You will label the visual aid as a figure and include a short description of what the figure is showing.

Step 5: Formatting and Submission


  • Include a cover page with the title, your name, and the date. You may use appropriate visuals as part of your cover page.
    • Provide a clear, specific title that communicates the content of your work
  • Include an introduction to your document (~1 paragraph).
    • Under your introduction heading, you will include subheadings for your problem statement and proposed solution.
      • Your problem statement will be 1-2 paragraphs under its own subheading, under the ~1 paragraph introduction.
      • Your proposed solution will be a very basic overview at this early part of the document — you want your readers to know that you have a solution in mind and give them a basic idea of what it is, but this is not the time to go into detail yet. This overview should be ~2-3 sentences.
  • Include a conclusion to your document (~1 paragraph).
  • Format your work using these or very similar headings, and in the order listed below (Note: the sequence in which you complete the work and the order in which you present your work are frequently different. In this case, you had to conduct research before you you could define the problem, but when presenting this work to an audience, it is logical to provide general background and to articulate the problem first, offer a basic overview of your proposed solution, then discuss global approaches to the problem and things that are already being done, THEN articulate your solution proposal in detail and explain why/how, considering the problem and current approaches, your solution makes sense and will work):
    • Introduction” (introduction) ~1 paragraph
      • Problem Definition” (Step 3) 1-2 paragraphs
      • Proposed Solution” (Step 4), basic overview, ~2-3 sentences
    • Global Approaches” (Step 2)
      • In this section, be sure to number your answers 1-6, and include the bolded title preceding each question; for questions that ask for several specific examples, label each example (a, b, c, or as bullet points) below each title
    • Proposed Solution” (Step 4), specific details and justification – take your research and what is already being done into consideration and justify why/how your solution makes sense and will work ~1-2 paragraphs
      • Extra credit illustration will go here
    • Conclusion” (conclusion) ~1 paragraph
  • Check your document for widows and orphans (Links to an external site.), formatting errors, etc., and correct any issues
    • Ensure that your document is clear and easy to navigate

Prof. Angela


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