Microplastic pollution has contaminated the whole planet

By | December 27, 2019

The Guardian reports:

Microplastic pollution is raining down on city dwellers, with research revealing that London has the highest levels yet recorded.

The health impacts of breathing or consuming the tiny plastic particles are unknown, and experts say urgent research is needed to assess the risks.

Only four cities have been assessed to date but all had microplastic pollution in the air. Scientists believe every city will be contaminated, as sources of microplastic such as clothing and packaging are found everywhere.

Recent research shows the whole planet appears to be contaminated with microplastic pollution. Scientists have found the particles everywhere they look, from Arctic snow and mountain soils, to many rivers and the deepest oceans. Other work indicates particles can be blown across the world.

The level of microplastic discovered in the London air surprised scientists. “We found a high abundance of microplastics, much higher than what has previously been reported,” said Stephanie Wrightfrom Kings College London, who led the research. “But any city around the world is going to be somewhat similar.”

“I find it of concern – that is why I am working on it,” she said. “The biggest concern is we don’t really know much at all. I want to find out if it is safe or not.”

About 335m tonnes of new plastic is produced each year and much leaks into the environment. The research, published in the journal Environment International, collected the microplastics falling onto the roof of a nine-storey building in central London. This ensured that only microplastic from the atmosphere was collected. [Continue reading…]

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