Global concern rises as scientists find plastic particles in Arctic snowfall

Read Time:   |  15th August 2019

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Latest scientific research looking at the composition of Arctic snowfall finds microscopic plastic particles present in staggering quantities, urging consumers to re-think their relationship with Plastic.

Scientists find microscopic plastic particles in Arctic snow

It seems that even in the purest of wildernesses, the effect of man-made pollution can be both felt and measured. Have we finally reached a critical fork in the road regarding our toxic relationship with plastic? Recent scientific evidence from the Arctic seems to think so.

A scientific team of German-Swiss researchers recently published their humbling findings from their work collecting snow samples at the Svalbard islands in the Arctic.  After laboratory analysis of composition, the team were staggered by the sheer volume of microscopic plastic particles discovered in their samples. More than 10,000 particles per litre were documented, a statistic made even worse considering the region from which the samples were collected is deemed one of the very few remaining untouched and pristine environments in the world.

The samples also contained fragments of rubber tyres, varnish paint and synthetic fibres, demonstrating an alarming global crisis by which pollution from human action is spreading to the great wilderness regions of planet earth. The scientists believe the microplastics are transported via winds through the atmosphere, towards the far-reaches of the planet, before being carried back down to earth via precipitation. There is now a great concern over the ability of microplastics to find their way into the ecosystem, affecting the health of native Arctic wildlife and marine life.


Speaking to BBC News, lead scientist of the research group Dr Melanie Bergann adds: “It’s readily apparent that the majority of the microplastic in the snow comes from the air…we expected to find some contamination but to find this many microplastics was a real shock…we need to take much better care of the way we’re treating our environment.”

There’s no doubt that we all need to take a long, hard look at our relationship with single-use materials, particularly plastic, in order to prevent further contamination and pollution of our global ecosystem. Reducing your waste and going plastic-free are two fantastic methods to help break the cycle of environmental decline, and safeguard great wilderness areas such as the Arctic from further damage.

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