Kalpana Gopinath’s field of expertise is water quality with emphasis on pollution control, treatment and remedies. Her PhD work involved studying the chemical oceanographic process in estuaries by examining the water chemistry and sediments of the coastal region along the East coast of India. She has also worked on climate-induced changes, especially in relation to ocean acidification and its impact on benthic organisms in the Gulf of Mannar, Bay of Bengal. Her interest in water quality and environmental issues lead her to study microplastics in the freshwater system in Chennai, India.
Currently, she is involved in studying microplastics in stormwater runoff which is considered as one of the main pathways of microplastics transport into the sea. Even though urban runoff comprising stormwater has been identified as major source of microplastics transfer into the ocean relatively few studies have been carried out on the subject so far. Kalpana is currently working on understanding the impact of urban activities on microplastic loads and pathways. Urban rainwater runoff seems to play a significant role in facilitating the migration of microplastics to freshwater.