If more evidence was needed that we desperately have to curb our dependence on plastic, ASAP, researches have found large amounts of microplastic frozen deep in Arctic ice floes.
“We had spent weeks looking out at what looks so much like pristine white sea ice floating out on the ocean,” Jacob Strock, a graduate student who conducted an initial analysis of the ice, told Reuters. “When we look at it up close and we see that it’s all very, very visibly contaminated when you look at it with the right tools—it felt a little bit like a punch in the gut.”
Uh, yeah. Why does what should be unsullied ice look like a retainer after it got dropped between the couch cushions?
Lest you think this is just superficial ice filth, it was actually frozen into ice cores extracted by the team that measured up to 6.5 feet in length. Which does make sense—the U.N. estimates that 100 million tons of plastic have been dumped in oceans to date.
As you might expect, this stuff is also getting into our lungs. In June, a study found that people eat at least 50,000 microplastic particles per year; research has also found the particles in cancerous human lung tissue.
Separately, a team of scientists from Germany and Switzerland published a study on Wednesday showing that microplastic is blown over great distances through the air, getting dumped when it snows.
“Once we’ve determined that large quantities of microplastic can also be transported by the air, it naturally raises the question as to whether and how much plastic we’re inhaling,” said Melanie Bergmann, who co-led the research.
“I am convinced there are many more particles in the smaller size range beyond our detection limit.”