What More? It’s Both Raining and Snowing Plastic Now

by on August 16, 2019 · 1 comment

in San Diego

In a twin news development, it’s being announced that scientists have found plastic in both our rain and snow.

The U.S. Interior Department recently released a study concluding that microscopic plastic fibers have contaminated the air, soil, water, and even rainfall, while other scientists say they’ve found an abundance of tiny plastic particles in Arctic snow, indicating that so-called microplastics are being sucked into the atmosphere and carried to some of the most remote corners of the planet.

Rainwater Samples

Andrew Emmet at Nation of Change reports:

After analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the U.S. Interior Department recently released a study concluding that microscopic plastic fibers have contaminated the air, soil, water, and even rainfall. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, plastic was found in over 90 percent of samples taken.

In a recent report titled “It Is Raining Plastic,” the U.S. Geological Survey reported:

“Atmospheric wet deposition samples were collected using the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) at eight sites in the Colorado Front Range. Plastics were identified in more than 90 percent of the samples.”

The study continued,

“Plastic particles such as beads and shards were also observed with magnification. More plastic fibers were observed in samples from urban sites than from remote, mountainous sites. However, frequent observation of plastic fibers in washout samples from the remote site CO98 at Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park (elevation 3,159 meters) suggests that wet deposition of plastic is ubiquitous and not just an urban condition.”

Meanwhile, scientists say they’ve found an abundance of tiny plastic particles in Arctic snow. To them this indicates the microplastics are being sucked into the atmosphere and carried to some of the most remote corners of the planet.

They collected snow from sites in the Arctic, northern Germany, the Bavarian and Swiss Alps and the North Sea island of Heligoland. The “enormous concentrations” of microplastics surprised even the researchers. Here are their 3 key points:

  • An “enormous concentration” of microplastics was found in samples taken from snow in the Arctic, Germany and elsewhere
  • The highest concentrations of microplastics were found in the Bavarian Alps
  • In a separate study, plastic samples were found in ice cores drilled in the Arctic

Gregory Wetherbee, a U.S. Geological Survey researcher, told the press:

“I think the most important result that we can share with the American public is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye. “It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s a part of our environment now.”

In a separate study led by a team of US scientists, tiny pieces of plastic were found in ice cores drilled in the Arctic.

The researchers used a helicopter to land on ice floes and retrieve the samples during an 18-day icebreaker expedition through the Northwest Passage, the hazardous route linking the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

“We had spent weeks looking out at what looks so much like pristine white sea ice floating out on the ocean,” said Jacob Strock, a graduate student researcher at the University of Rhode Island, who conducted an initial onboard analysis of the cores.

“When we look at it up close … we see that it’s all very, very visibly contaminated when you look at it with the right tools.

So, in the rain, in the snow.

And we can’t forget the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – out there in the Great Pacific between California and Hawaii. It is increasing exponentially and is estimated to be at least twice the size of Texas, and more than three times the size of continental France.

 

 

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks August 17, 2019 at 11:15 am

My best friend of nearly 40 years and his Hawai’ian-born wife have both retired, and every week they drive around the corner from their place on Windward Side of Oah’u to clean the Kahana Bay beach of plastic. Literally trashbags full, and that’s not the micro-plastic that you can’t see. This isn’t just litter (it isn’t a tourist beach) but is coming from the deep ocean and being washed in by waves and blown in the by the Trades. The worst plastic coverage is when there is a big swell and high tides. The pictures he’s sent of what they find after a hurricane goes by to the east is overwhelming.

My ‘local’ beach is La Push on the Olympic Peninsula, a rock beach except at low tide, and the amount of plastics I’ve picked up from between the pebbles boggles the mind.

Like the highly intelligent teenager below says, we have to quit using it.

Irish Teen Wins 2019 Google Science Fair For Removing Microplastics From Water

https://www.forbes.com/sites/trevornace/2019/07/30/irish-teen-wins-2019-google-science-fair-for-removing-microplastics-from-water/#5b1862b7373f

sealintheSelkirks

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