It is no longer news that the microplastics and nanoplastics are everywhere and all over the world. From the human body to the beaches, the oceans and the ice at the poles. However, there is a means by which they spread more easily: the atmosphere.
This is supported by the latest work on microplastics published by German scientists. In their conclusions, they point out that air is the most conducive medium for plastic microparticles to travel faster and farther than, for example, in water.
“Air is a much more dynamic medium than water. As a result, the nano and microplastics they can penetrate much more quickly into the most remote regions of our planet, which are still largely untouched“, stressed Melanie Bergmann, co-author of the study and researcher at the Alfred Wegener Institute.
Once they reach these areas, which are often more sensitive to the consequences of climate change, microplastics they can wreak havoc. By way of illustration, these small pieces of plastic darker colors can be deposited on snow and ice, reducing their ability to reflect sunlight. Ultimately, then, they favor melting.
These particles reach the atmosphere by human activity. For example, by the use of tires and brakes in cars. Also, they rise from the marine environment, although these processes are not yet fully known, so the researchers call for further and deeper studies.
Microplastics and air quality
In April, British researchers announced that they had found microplastics in the lungs of 11 of the 13 living people from whom they had taken samples. These were mostly polypropylene and PET particles.
With this background in mind, Bergmann noted: “This is one more reason to integrate plastic into air quality control plans”. Likewise, according to the scientist, the study shows the need to agree on an international treaty to reduce production and pollution with new plastics throughout the planet.