Microplastics found in the snow of Sierra Nevada mountains of California
Samples of some of the microplastics researchers found in snow from the Arctic. Credit: Bergmann et al./Science Advances.
Zoë Schlanger, an environment reporter with the news website Quartz, writes:
This is the year we found microplastic in the snow.
Read on to find out more about researchers who have found microplastics in the Arctic, the Pyrenees, the Swiss Alps and even the Sierra Nevadas of California.
New and developing research at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory suggests microplastics are turning up even in the most remote and essentially untouched areas of the planet, coming to rest in places like Greenland and Antarctica, transported by snowfall.
To get a clearer idea of the extent of microplastic pollution in snow, Columbia University has started a citizen science project to collect samples of snow meltwater from people all over the United States.
“Despite its importance, little is known about microplastic transport and deposition, especially by snow particles, and most people are not aware of the extent of the problem,” an abstract of their plan, presented at the American Geophysical Union’s 2019 annual meeting in San Francisco this week, reads.
“The PlastiX-Snow Citizen Science Project aims to fill these research and informational gaps using crowd-sourcing to achieve scientific research outputs, educational programming, and active outreach and engagement.”
More details are available on the PlastiX-Snow website.