Cars are the origin of a third of the microplastics that reach the oceans

Ed. Steinar Engeland/Unsplash

Every year, cars emit thousands of tons of microplastics into the atmosphere. Depending on their size, some remain in the countries of origin, but others, dragged by the wind, fall into the oceans and even reach the Arctic.

According to a study published in the journal Nature Communications, almost 200,000 tons of microplastics from the activity of cars arrive annually to the oceans and other aquatic ecosystems. Of these, some 140,000 tons correspond to PM10 particles, which are particles under 10 micrometers. Another 52,000 tons of PM2,5 class particles are less than 2.5 micrometers. From this data, it is estimated that 30% of oceanic microplastics are produced on the road. Of all these particles, most come from the abrasion of the tires, but also from the use of the galga.

Its route depends on the size of the particles. Thus, PM10 particles travel for 5-11 days and remain in the generation zones, mainly in the United States, Europe and China. On the other hand, PM2,5 particles can remain in the atmosphere between 18 and 37 days and can reach remote areas such as the Arctic. This has been a concern for scientists. They warn that these particles can reduce the albedo of ice and, consequently, contribute to global warming.

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