Environmental Science

The U.S. national parks and protected areas receive more than a thousand tons of plastic rain each year

The U.S. national parks and protected areas receive more than a thousand tons of plastic rain each year

More than 1,000 tons of Microplastics rains in protected areas across the western United States every year – the equivalent to more than 123 million plastic bottles – new research suggests. The long-term accumulation of small pieces of plastic measuring less than 5 millimeters long is “reminiscent of the global dust cycle, but the source is unique people,” Is creating potential consequences for weak ecosystems around the world.

Microplastics are small pieces of plastic that begin their life cycle as larger pieces that break down over time. Previous studies have shown that it shows no signs of declining global production, with “rain plastics” in the Rocky Mountains of America and Arctic frost Microplastics and 340 metric tons of plastics produced in 2017. As such, it is estimated that 11 billion metric tons of plastic will accumulate in the environment over the next five years.

Using high-resolution atmospheric deposit data, researchers at Utah State University used Microplastics and other particles to prepare Microplastics and other particles collected over 14 months in 11 national parks and desert areas in Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, Colorado, California, Utah, and Nevada. The pieces were compared to their size and shape and to identify the sources of plastic emitted into the atmosphere, they were moved through dry or wet conditions and identified through their composition to identify where they were finally deposited.

Study author and Assistant Professor Janice Brahney said in a statement. “We were shocked by the estimated depreciation rate and kept trying to figure out where our calculations went wrong.”We then scanned 32 different particles to confirm that about 4 percent of the atmospheric particles analyzed from these remote locations were synthetic polymers.”

The 98 percent of all wet and dry samples were present as the amount of daily accumulation rate of 132 plastics per square meter of plastic. Most of the plastics deposited through precipitation were from cities and regions with high population densities, whereas plastics deposited in dry conditions showed long-distance travel through atmospheric patterns in some cases in the continental region.

Brahney said, “Several studies have tried to prove the extent of the global plastic cycle, but they were unaware of the composition of the atmosphere.” “Our data show that the plastic cycle is reminiscent of the global water cycle of atmospheric, oceanic, and terrestrial life.”

Most of the fibers deposited in both dry and wet conditions were garments and industrial materials; about 30 percent of brightly colored acrylic microbeads were probably derived from works of art and coatings rather than personal care products, while 4% of atmospheric particles identified from remote areas were plastic polymers. Nevertheless, the study authors added that their results would reduce the actual diffusion of environmental microbeads because they did not count clean or white particles.

Write the study authors in Science, “This result, combined with the identified distribution of sizes and correlations with global climate patterns, proves that plastic emission sources have spiraled beyond our population centers and through the Earth system in their longevity.” Plastics have become ubiquitous in the environment but the consequences for human and environmental health are largely unknown. Understanding how pollutants are transferred through the environment Understanding how microplastics surround the world, especially in fragile environments.