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Pollution| Pollution

Pollution| Pollution

A new study has shown that microplastics can travel great distances even at high altitudes like Mount Everest and the Mariana Trench.

Microplastics are small pieces less than 5mm in size that can be found in packaging, clothing, and other sources. They have been detected in water, on land, and in the air.

Scientists from France’s national research institute CNRS sampled air at Pic du Midi Observatory in French Pyrenees. This station is considered clean due to the limited influence of the environment and climate on it.

They tested 10,000 cubic meters of air every week between June 2017 and October 2017, and found that all samples contained microplastics.

They used weather data to calculate the trajectories for different air masses before each sample, and found sources as far as North Africa and North America.

Steve Allen, a Canadian scientist at Dalhousie University, stated to AFP that the particles could travel such great distances because they were able reach high altitudes.

He said that once it hits the troposphere it becomes a superfast highway.

Research also points out microplastic sources in both the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea.

Allen said that the marine source is most interesting.

Plastic leaves the ocean and into the air so high it shows that there is no eventual place for it to sink. It just keeps moving in an endless cycle.

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Although the Pic du Midi samples did not contain any microplastics, Deonie Alley, the study’s co-author, said that they were small enough to pose no health risk.

She also said that their presence should be considered in an area thought to be protected from pollution sources.

It questions the relationship that we have with plastic, she said, adding the problem was global.

Allen stated that this also showed that the strategy of disposing plastic by shipping it to another country was flawed.

She said, “It’s going to return to you.”

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