Pollution: Microplastics in the air envelop the entire globe
A new study has stated that tiny bits of plastic can travel through the atmosphere across continents thorn by winds, forming a pollution cycle. Most of our plastic waste is landfilled, but about 18% ends up in the air we breathe.
Since the plastic it is not easily decomposableit fragments into smaller and smaller pieces until the microplastics are small enough to blow through the air. Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental and social issues of the 21st century. Recent work has highlighted the role of the atmosphere in transporting microplastics to remote locations.
Pollution, microplates can be in the air
Much of the plastic that is discharged into the sea is rejected and broken down by the earth, posing potential risks to our ecosystem. Although there has been some progress with the creation of biodegradable polymers, researchers have warned that microplastics they will continue to circulate through terrestrial systems. From December 2017 to January 2019, the researchers collected data on atmospheric microplastics where the84% of the microscopic fragments came from road dust: cars and trucks shaking plastic. About 11% entered the atmosphere from the sea spray and the 5% is derived from agricultural soil dust.
This also happens in the ocean, where large piles of waste form entire islands of plastic. They are broken down into plastic particles found on the top layer of water, where they are thrown into the air by waves and wind. Once it enters the atmosphere, the plastic can remain in the air for up to six and a half days. During this time, under the right conditions, plastic can be transported across major oceans and between continents.
Although previous studies have not found that microplastics pose a threat to human health, this study warned that there could be negative and as yet unknown consequences for ecosystems and human health. These small particles can be inhaled leading to irritation of the lungs, causing serious illness.
I’m More research is needed to understand the impact of several factors including population density and ocean circulation. The researchers also asked to better manage the disposal of plastic waste. Due to limited observations and understanding of source processes, large uncertainties remain in the transport, deposition and source attribution of microplastics. Therefore, it must prioritize future research directions to understand the plastic cycle.
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