Microplastics found in freshly fallen Antarctic snow for first time: New Zealand researchers identified tiny plastics, which can be toxic to plants and animals, in 19 snow samples — The Guardian

Ross Ice Shelf, 1997 The Ross Ice Shelf from the NATHANIEL B. PALMER Ross Sea, Antarctica. Photo credit: Public Domain

Click the link to read the article on The Guardian website (Eva Corlett). Here’s an excerpt:

Microplastics have been found in freshly fallen snow in Antarctica for the first time, which could accelerate snow and ice melting and pose a threat to the health of the continent’s unique ecosystems. The tiny plastics – smaller than a grain of rice – have previously been found in Antarctic sea ice and surface water but this is the first time it has been reported in fresh snowfall, the researchers say. The research, conducted by University of Canterbury PhD student, Alex Aves, and supervised by Dr Laura Revell has been published in the scientific journal The Cryosphere.

Aves collected snow samples from the Ross Ice Shelf in late 2019 to determine whether microplastics had been transferred from the atmosphere into the snow. Up until then, there had been few studies on this in Antarctica…“We were optimistic that she wouldn’t find any microplastics in such a pristine and remote location,” Revell said. She instructed Aves to also collect samples from Scott Base and the McMurdo Station roadways – where microplastics had previously been detected – so “she’d have at least some microplastics to study,” Revell said. But that was an unnecessary precaution – plastic particles were found in every one of the 19 samples from the Ross Ice Shelf.

“It’s incredibly sad but finding microplastics in fresh Antarctic snow highlights the extent of plastic pollution into even the most remote regions of the world,” Aves said.

2 thoughts on “Microplastics found in freshly fallen Antarctic snow for first time: New Zealand researchers identified tiny plastics, which can be toxic to plants and animals, in 19 snow samples — The Guardian

Leave a Reply