For the very first time, researchers have discovered the presence of microplastics in freshly fallen Antarctic snow. Researchers from New Zealand’s University of Canterbury analyzed 19 samples gathered in Antarctica’s Ross Island region.
The study was published Tuesday in the scientific journal The Cryosphere and it found 13 different types of plastics during a fresh snowfall. The most common type of plastic found in the snow was Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). This plastic is commonly used to make clothes or package food and soft drinks. According to the findings, on average 29 microplastic particles were found per litre of snow.
Microplastics can reach up to 5 milimetres in size. Depending on what type of plastic and chemicals it contains, it can be very environmentally damaging. Alex Aves, a PhD student at the university said “It’s incredibly sad but finding microplastic in fresh Antarctic snow highlights the extent of plastic polluting into even the most remote regions of the world,”
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