June 15, 2020
Tiny pieces of plastic, known as microplastics, are filling the Earth’s atmosphere and have been discovered raining down on US national parks like the Grand Canyon.
Researchers from Utah State University used high-resolution equipment to discover samples of this plastic pollution that had rained down from the atmosphere.
More than 1,000 tons of microplastics were discovered over 11 remote western US locations including protected areas – having travelled through the air like rain.
The study focused on US national parks and protected wildness areas but it is expected this type of plastic pollution could be found around the world.
Rocky Mountain National Park had the greatest amount microplastics among the national parks and wilderness areas in the study.
Janice Brahney, lead researcher from Utah State University, identified plastic and polymers’ collected over 14 months in 11 national parks and wildness areas.
‘We were shocked at the estimated deposition rates and kept trying to figure out where our calculations went wrong,’ Brahney said.
‘We then confirmed through 32 different particle scans that roughly 4% of the atmospheric particles analyzed from these locations were synthetic polymers’
In 2017 the world produced 348 million tons of plastic and its assumed this figure has only increased year on year since then, researchers say.
Plastic is highly resilient and lasts a long time before breaking down – something that makes them useful in every day life.
This article was posted: Monday, June 15, 2020 at 3:51 am