You’ve heard of plastic waste in the ocean, now research shows there’s plastic in our rain.
Research reported at sciencemag.org explains that 11 areas with protected status in the US had rain water and air samples collected over a 14 month period. From their findings they estimated that each year, 1000 metric tons of plastic fall into those 11 protected areas. To put that into some perspective that would create Coca Cola over 120 million plastic bottles! From these results it is assumed that microplastics are falling all across the world. Even in the most untouched parts of the world, such as the Artic. This really paints a picture of the monster we have created.
We thought acid rain was bad. In recent years we have been able to control emissions released into the atmosphere and have reduced the acidic rainfall. We won’t be able to do the same with plastic rain unless plastic production ended today. Let alone all the microplastics already in the environment. Its not like we can go round with a broom and sweep it all up.
It’s early stages yet to be sure, but it might not just be the microplastic itself thats causing problems. The chemicals on the microplastic might be leaching into the soil and having detrimental effects. Which could potentially cause further problems.
We are also now learning that plastic isn’t just entering the ocean via wastewater or plastic waste being dumped straight into the ocean. It is being washed from the land and falling from the sky. We truly are surrounded by plastic.
There’s still a lot to learn about the lifecycle of plastic. But one things for sure, it isn’t going away anytime soon. One phrase that creates scale of the problem is; Every piece of plastic ever created is still out there in some shape or form.