Microplastics Rain Down on Some Remotes Parts of the USA

By Doug Williams
Publish Date:
 
 
Lennart Sikkema CC BY 3.0
Lennart Sikkema CC BY 3.0
 
SHARE:

Plastic was supposed to make our lives easier but has ended up destroying our planet.  Not only are they filling up our trash sites, they are also found in wind and rain falling from the sky.

 

According to euronews.com, two hundred and fifty million tons of plastics are produced in one year and increasing every year.  Some plastics break down into almost microscopic pieces called microplastics which are able to embed themselves into our ecosystem affecting weather, food and water.

Some plastic particles are even smaller than this and can be picked up by the wind.
Some plastic particles are even smaller than this and can be picked up by the wind.

The microplastics can be carried on the wind leaving them hundreds of miles from their origin.  The amount of microplastics in London, England and cities in Germany, China and France were compared with London having the highest levels of atmospheric microplastic pollution recorded.

 

The study, done by Kings College University, reported that the pollution came from single use plastics such as the film used to package meat to foam from polystyrene packaging such as takeout boxes and many instant soup varieties.

The worst offender was fibrous microplastics created by the breakdown of synthetic clothes such as polyester and nylon like bike shorts and leggings that are shed when these clothes are washed.

Photodegraded plastic bag adjacent to hiking trail. Appx 2,000 pieces 1 to 25 mm. 3 months exposure outdoors.

Photodegraded plastic bag adjacent to hiking trail. Appx 2,000 pieces 1 to 25 mm. 3 months exposure outdoors. Stevejewett – CC BY-SA 4.0
Photodegraded plastic bag adjacent to hiking trail. Appx 2,000 pieces 1 to 25 mm. 3 months exposure outdoors. Stevejewett – CC BY-SA 4.0

Microscopic particles are turning up in remote places like Joshua Tree National Park and Grand Canyon National Park with more than one thousand tons on the ground equivalent to around one hundred and eight two million plastic bags but were mostly from clothing fibers.

The lead scientist of the study, Professor Janice Brahney, claimed she was shocked at the deposition rates and remarked, “This ubiquity of microplastics in the atmosphere and the subsequent deposition to remote terrestrial and aquatic environments raise widespread ecological and societal concerns.”  She notes that important weather systems like the jet stream can move microplastics across the country or even across the sea.

Polystyrene foam beads on an Irish beach. G.Mannaerts CC BY-SA 4.0
Polystyrene foam beads on an Irish beach. G.Mannaerts CC BY-SA 4.0

Studies done by Arizona State University and National Geographic show that particles can pass through the gastrointestinal tract of a human who may be consuming anywhere from thirty nine thousand to fifty two thousand microplastic particles a year which end up in human bodies by way of food and drink including salt, sugar, beer and alcoholic beverages and honey.

Charles Rolsky and Varun Kelkar performed a test on forty seven samples from human livers, lungs, kidneys and spleens looking particularly for polycarbonate, polyethylene terephthalate and polyethylene. All forty seven revealed contamination by plastics.

Toxic Bisphenol A was also detected which is found in foam food containers.  A number of scientists have linked plastic contamination to cancer, inflammation and infertility.

Great Pacific garbage patch — Pacific Ocean currents have created 3 “islands” of debris.
Great Pacific garbage patch — Pacific Ocean currents have created 3 “islands” of debris.

Rolsky commented, “We never want to be alarmist but it is concerning that these non-biodegradable materials that are present everywhere can enter and accumulate in human tissues and we don’t know the possible health effects.”

According to wwf.org, one hundred thousand marine animals including dolphins, whales, seals and sea lions have been killed by plastic in the ocean.

Several years ago, a pregnant pigmy sperm whale beached itself near Melbourne, Australia and an autopsy showed her stomach was almost completely clogged with plastic.

Nylon fishing nets are intentionally discarded into the water and some older nets have been found with skeletons of dolphins, turtles and different types of reef fish who became entangled and died.

Turtles have been spotted with deformed shells after being stuck in the plastic that hold a beverage six pack.  Rare humpback whales have been seen with their bodies wrapped in plastic which can cut into their skin and cause infection.

Nature advocates suggest that taking charge of your own plastic use is a step in the right direction to help decrease the amounts polluting our planet.

When you get a soft drink use your own permanent straw, refuse plastic cutlery in favor of a small permanent set you can keep in a car or a purse and recycle everything you possibly can.  Take reusable totes to the grocery store, buy an item in a box or glass rather than a plastic bottle and bring your own mug for coffee to go.

Another Article From Us: This Couple has Lived for 29 Years on an Island They Built Themselves

If you buy meats and cheeses from a deli ask them to wrap it in paper and use a paper bag when buying bulk cereals and other items.

 
© Copyright 2015–2020 - Outdoor Revival