In the Arctic snows with a piece of plastic

We have repeatedly written about the fact that plastic is a serious threat to life on Earth. So, more than half the inhabitants of the sea and ocean depths, including the plankton-eating microplastics. The world press regularly reports about the animals in the stomachs of which contained pounds of plastic. However, this problem does not end there. Scientists have discovered that snow falls in the Arctic, along with particles of plastic. But how is this possible?

What happens to the Arctic?

Due to global warming the Arctic is rapidly losing ice. But the Arctic accounts for about 10 percent of all ice reserves on the Earth. Despite the fact that the ice is constantly changing depending on the time of year, the world meteorological organization has estimated that over the past 30 years the Arctic ocean has lost 95 percent of multi-year ice.

It turns out that the territory of the Arctic in just one 2017 lost about 260 thousand square kilometers of ice. Melting Arctic ice threatens the life listed in the Red book of polar bears. Among other things, it affects sea level rise and the impact on the climate of the entire planet.

And if for a long time scientists thought that the melting of ice — the only problem the Arctic, it was found that the pollution of the planet with plastic and got to it.

As plastic came to the snow?

The work of German and Swiss scientists published in the journal of Science Advances. The researchers were shocked to discovered a number of microscopic plastic particles in samples of Arctic snow. There were about 10 thousand particles per liter. Write in our Telegram chat, a lot of it in your opinion.

Until now it was thought that the Arctic is one of the few regions on Earth, not contaminated by plastic. Lead author of the study Dr. Melanie Bergmann had expected to find in the samples, some particles of plastic, but not the number of 10 thousand particles per liter. According to Dr. Bergman, the micro-plastic particles caught in the Arctic snow from the air.

What are microplastics?

Microplastics considered to be particles with a maximum size of 5 mm. Scientists have long known that the planet’s air contaminated with microscopic plastic particles. However, how many of these particles contained in the air are hazardous to health and dangerous, if at all, scientists can not say.

In samples of Arctic snow some plastic particles were so small that scientists are unable to understand their origin. The researchers also took samples of snow from Germany and Switzerland. It turned out that urban snow has a lot more plastic than the Arctic.