Breath of Fresh… Plastic?
Airborne microplastics have been discovered in the atmosphere surrounding our most remote oceans
Lauren Robertson | | Quick Read
Microplastic particles are widespread in our atmosphere, but the remote ocean was thought to be beyond the reach of such polluting influences – until now. Using micro-Raman spectroscopy, a team of researchers have proven that not even the remotest seas are safe from microplastics.
The team analyzed a collection of ambient aerosol samples taken from the North Atlantic Ocean in 2016. A range of plastic compounds were revealed, including polystyrene, polyethylene, polypropylene, and polysilicone. Shockingly, the team believes their results are actually an underestimation of the particles’ true spread because they only measured microplastics larger than 5 µm. Our oceans’ plastic problem is already dire – but it now seems that these ubiquitous tiny particles are creating an even worse situation than previously believed.
- M Trainic et al., Commun Earth Environ, 1, 64 (2020). DOI: 10.1038/s43247-020-00061-y.