Even fresh snow in Antarctica is free of microplastics

Even fresh snow in Antarctica is free of microplastics

Most people think of Antarctica as a pristine and relatively unspoiled place, but a new study post in the magazine cryosphere reveals existence Microplastics – Pieces of plastic much smaller than a grain of rice – appear for the first time in freshly fallen snow in Antarctica.

“Looking back now, I’m not surprised,” Revell said. “We know from research published in recent years that wherever we look for microplastics in the air, we can find them.”

high concentration

Birds analyze snow samples using chemical analysis techniques to determine the types of plastic particles present. The plastic particles were also observed under a microscope to determine their color, size and shape — important observations for future work.

The researchers found an average of 29 microplastic particles per liter of melted snow, which is higher than previously reported ocean concentrations in Ross Sea and Antarctic sea ice.

In the immediate vicinity of Ross Island Science Base, Scott Base and McMurdo Station, the largest station in Antarctica, the density of microplastics was almost three times higher, with concentrations similar to those found in Italian glacier debris. Thirteen different types of plastic were found, the most common being PET, commonly used to make soft drink bottles and clothing.

Possible sources of microplastics were examined. “Atmospheric models suggest that microplastics may have traveled thousands of kilometers in the air, but it’s equally likely that human presence in Antarctica has established a microplastic ‘footprint’,” the researchers said.

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