Scientists detect microplastics even in clouds

Scientists detect microplastics even in clouds

It turns out that microplastics are all around us, in food, water and even in the air. Now, scientists have found their existence in clouds as well, arguing that they can influence their formation and local climates around the world.

In the research published in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters, Japanese scientists climbed Mount Fuji and Mount Oyama to collect water samples from the mist that covers the peaks, and then applied advanced imaging techniques to the samples to determine their physical and chemical properties. .

The research team identified nine different types of polymers and one type of rubber in the airborne microplastics, which ranged in size from 7.1 to 94.6 micrometers.

Each liter of water tested contained between 6.7 and 13.9 pieces of plastic.

"If 'plastic air pollution' is not addressed, climate change and ecological hazards may become a reality, causing irreversible and serious environmental damage in the future," warns research leader Hiroshi Okochi of Waseda University.

When microplastics reach the upper atmosphere and are exposed to ultraviolet radiation from sunlight, they degrade, contributing to greenhouse gases, Okochi said.

The term microplastic refers to any plastic particle that is smaller than 5 millimeters. They come from industrial wastewater, textiles, synthetic car tires, personal care products and other sources and have already been detected in fish guts, Arctic ice and the snow of the Pyrenees between France and Spain.