Please invest in Our Daily Planet today, by making a one time or monthly contribution.
We do not charge our readers a subscription fee for our content. We want to continue to grow our readership, particularly among millennials and public servants. Voluntary contributions from readers will help us employ interns and freelance journalists, expand our content, and reach a larger audience.
As the New York Times wrote, a new study has given more insight into just how pervasive microplastics are in the environment. In addition to being one of the ocean’s greatest pollution threats,
They’re in the air we breathe, traveling on the wind and drifting down from the skies.
More than 1,000 tons of tiny fragments rain down each year on national parks and wilderness areas in the American West alone, equivalent to between 123 million and 300 million plastic bottles worth.
Humans and animals are inhaling and digesting these particles and there’s very little research about what effect they have on human and environmental health.
Why This Matters: This new study shows that even the most isolated areas in the United States, microplastics are ever-present after being transported there by wind and rain. Microplastics are known to be prevalent in the ocean but, as Scientific American explained, their movement through the air is particularly troubling because of the risk of humans breathing them in, a possible health issue that has been little studied so far.
For all of us humans that enjoy the outdoors, that clean, pristine air may not be as pure as we think. Plastic pollution is pervasive, as we’re still learning about its extent.
The Results: As the Times explained, the study researchers concluded that the particles deposited in wet weather were likely to have originated from relatively near by, with the plastic bits swept into the air by storms from urban centers, and then falling again with the rain and snow.
The smaller, lighter particles, they suggested, had, in contrast, been carried extremely long distances on currents high in the atmosphere and had become part of the cycles of global dust transport.
The dry deposits constituted more than 75 percent of the plastic that was tested.
The Response: The Washington Post reported that the National Park Service, for its part, recognized the potential hazards that come with so much microplastics raining down within its protected areas.
“The NPS is concerned about the deposition of microplastics in parks and wilderness areas. The recent study further contributes to the large body of evidence that microplastics are everywhere, including remote and high elevation areas,” said Kristi Morris, a physical scientist in the air resources division of the National Park Service.
By Julia Pyper, host/producer Political Climate As Congress looks toward the next coronavirus relief package, a growing number of stakeholders from across the political spectrum are calling for a comprehensive clean energy infrastructure plan to address the nation’s economic challenges. Updating America’s transportation system offers a ripe opportunity to create jobs while lowering carbon emissions. […]
Yesterday, Microsoft announced that it will be teaming up with Unilever, Starbucks, Mercedes-Benz, Nike, and four other companies to form Transform to Net Zero, an initiative focused on achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. As CNET reported, the team will work with the Environmental Defense Fund to share information on the best practices for decreasing carbon […]
Our Daily Planet is your daily dose of the stories shaping our world and the ways that you can take action. From the climate crisis to the protection of biodiversity, if these issues matter to you then please subscribe & stay informed!
Your privacy is Important! We promise never to use your email address to send you spam or advertisements.