21 Aug Microplastics Discovered in Arctic Snow
A world of pink, yellow and green – adorned with corals and sponges; this was Oscar-winning actor, Javier Bardem’s description of the Antarctic seabed upon his 885ft submarine dive into the waters.
The importance of maintaining this marine paradise has been a matter campaigned for by the former Bond villain – the urgency of which has been amplified by recent devastating discoveries in the most remote areas of the world – plastic pollution.
It’s Raining Plastic
Tiny plastic particles have been observed in precipitation before. Scientists have noted its presence in rain falling on the Pyrenees, Colorado and even uninhabited tropical islands. These fibres intrude into the water cycle by means of our disregarded products that break into small pieces, and subsequently disperse into the oceans via sewage systems, rivers and canals.
Although these plastic fragments are invisible to the naked eye – they can be seen underneath a binocular microscope. Think the aforementioned colours described by Bardem – but, instead, present in the form plastic fibres; the most prevalent being blue, accompanied by red, silver, purple, green and yellow – a rainbow of synthetic waste.
Plastic in the Arctic
A region with a population of only 4 million – treading the Arctic’s desolate, icy plains is akin to roaming a pre-historical environment. It’s one of the least explored locations on the planet; yet, veiled inside the deceptively pristine, white snow lurks vast numbers of microplastics – researchers have found some 14,400 particles per litre of water.
Precipitation is perhaps not the only factor responsible for the transit of these fragments – it has been suggested that particles may become airborne, comparable to dust and pollen. Previous studies have found microplastics in the air in Paris, Tehran and Donggaun, China – thus, scientists have theorised that the considerable pollution found in the Arctic, may have been carried through the atmosphere.
But what are the impacts of airborne plastics on human/animal health? The simple answer is; we don’t know. Since microplastics enter every level of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems, there have been various studies conducted on the exposure to particles upon ingestion – however, the consequences of inhaling these fragments are even less known. A further concern is the threat of nanoplastics discharged into the air; being that these particles are so small, it’s speculated that they may have the potential to enter cells – posing huge issues for living organisms.
The solution starts with us; whilst we may not have Javier Bardem’s ability to individually pressure governmental organisations into adhering to environmental policies – our small actions can make big differences. Avoid single use plastic products, recycle when possible and keep a watchful eye on what items enter our drainage system – including fats, oils and greases – all which amalgamate with plastics and other materials, creating colossal water pollutants.
At eco WMT, our environmentally friendly product harnesses natural bacteria to break down fats, oils and greases, alongside other pollutants – cleansing our water cycle of nasties, whilst also being 100% safe for humans and all wildlife. Paired with worldwide efforts to minimalise plastic utilisation; eco tabs is at the forefront of an eco-friendly revolution!