News: Microplastics–tiny fragments of plastic waste–can be “ingested and inhaled by humans.” There are many news reports and studies that have shown that microplastics can now be found in all areas of the oceans–with severe impact on ocean life and increasing impact on people that live near the oceans. New research confirms that microplastics can now also be found in mountainous areas remote from cities. Specifically, researchers discovered microplastics “falling from the sky in dust, rain, and snow” in the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France over 60 miles from the nearest city.
When analyzed, it was found that these microplastics mostly came from the single-use plastic packaging used in shipping. When swept up into the atmosphere, these tiny bits of plastic may float well over 60 miles before “falling back to Earth.” Extrapolating from the amount of plastics collected in the Pyrenees, the researchers estimate that some 2,000 tons of microplastics fall from the atmosphere over France each year.
Microplastics of this size “are virtually impossible to clean up.” The only solution “is to produce less in the first place.”
Learn more: Read the article (Alex Fox, Science, 15 April 2019).
And, go to the source — Atmospheric transport and deposition of microplastics in a remote mountain catchment (Steve Allen, et al., Nature Geoscience, 15 April 2019).
See also —