Microplastics also in air

Etxebeste Aduriz, Egoitz

Elhuyar Zientzia

mikroplastikoak-airean-ere
Ed. Jean Louis Tosque/Pixabay

Microplastics can also travel miles into the air and end up far from their origin. Precisely, in a recent work published in the journal Nature Geoscience, microplastics from the air received in the Pyrenees have been released.

Numerous studies have shown that seas are contaminated by microplastics. These studies suggest that microplastics reach the sea through rivers, and it was unclear how much can spread through the atmosphere. To date, only samples of airborne microplastics were collected in two megawatts: Paris and Dongguan (China). On this occasion, researchers have selected one of the cleanest possible sampling points, which has been performed in the Pyrenees, at the Bernadouze Weather Station, at a height of 1,425 meters.

The sampling was carried out for five months and has received a significant number of microplastics, similar to that recorded in megavateries. Specifically, they received 365 particles per square meter a day. Most of the particles were less than 50 microns and the rest of the films and fibers did not exceed 100 microns. As for the type of plastic, most were polyethylene and polystyrene (used for the manufacture of plastic bags, among others) and there were also numerous polypropylene fibers, very common in the textile industry.

On the other hand, through studies and simulations of air currents, it has been calculated that these plastic particles can reach in the air about 100 km.

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