Microplastics in Antarctic snow

Scientists find microplastics in fresh Antarctic snow for the first time


Scientists have found microplastics in fresh Antarctic snow for the first time, highlighting the extent of global plastic pollution as even the most remote regions experience contamination.

Researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand gathered samples of snow from 19 different sites in the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica and discovered plastic particles in all of them, according to a report published this week in the journal Cryosphere.

Most of the particles were from a type of plastic called polyethylene terephthalate, which is found in clothing and water bottles. The study found an average of 29 particles per liter of melted snow, higher than marine concentrations previously reported from the surrounding Ross Sea and in Antarctic sea ice.

When University of Canterbury Ph.D. student Alex Aves traveled to Antarctica in 2019 to collect snow samples, “we were optimistic that she wouldn’t find any microplastics in such a pristine and remote location,” associate professor Laura Revell said in a statement.

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Published CNBC.COM , June 10 2022