Airborne microplastics found atop Frances remote Pyrenees mountains

first_img Email Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe spiderstock/istockphoto Microscopic fragments of plastic have invaded the farthest reaches of the sea, from the depths of the Mariana Trench to the freezing waters off Antarctica. Now, researchers have found that such microplastics have polluted the Pyrenees mountains, expanding plastic’s dominion to previously unknown heights.Prior studies have shown that microplastics, which can be ingested and inhaled by humans—and which may lead to reproductive issues in some marine mollusks—can rise up into the atmosphere and drop back to solid ground in the cities they come from. But scientists thought these plastics couldn’t travel very far from their urban sources.To find out just how far they can go, the researchers collected particles falling from the sky in dust, rain, and snow for 5 months at the Bernadouze meteorological station in the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France—100 kilometers from the nearest city. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Alex FoxApr. 15, 2019 , 11:00 AM Airborne microplastics found atop France’s remote Pyrenees mountains Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country To their horror, the authors found plastics, predominantly the kind from the single-use packaging used in shipping. From their sample, they determined that each day, an average of 365 plastic particles sifted down from above into the square meter surface of the collection device. If comparable quantities of airborne microplastic fall across the rest of the country, the researchers estimate roughly 2000 tons of plastic blanket France each year, they report today in Nature Geoscience.Computer simulations corroborated the notion that the plastic fragments, films, and fibers collected could have originated in cities, suggesting the microplastics floated at least 100 kilometers before falling back to Earth. But researchers say these tiny particles may travel much farther. Dust particles from the Sahara Desert, for example, have been found in the Pyrenees, even though they are twice as large and twice as heavy as the microplastics found in the study.Pieces of plastic small enough to sail into the atmosphere are virtually impossible to clean up, say the researchers, suggesting the only viable solution is to produce less in the first place. Until then, the researchers plan to keep up their detective work—tracking the airborne microplastics all the way back to their source.last_img

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