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Antarctica: 'Incredibly sad' - microplastic particles in snow have been discovered for the first time

Antarctica: ‘Incredibly sad’ – microplastic particles in snow have been discovered for the first time

panorama “Incredibly sad”

Plastic particles discovered in ice in Antarctica for the first time

The amount of plastic particles threatens to increase 50 times

“Protecting the seas matters to all of us,” Federal Chancellor Olaf Schultz said. Pollution of the world’s oceans is increasing. By the end of the century, the proportion of microplastics is expected to be 50 times higher.

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Now researchers have discovered that microplastics are reaching even the most remote areas of the world. They proved it in the snows of Antarctica. And not just once: Each sample from 19 different locations contained microplastic particles.

FResearchers have detected microplastics in Antarctic snow for the first time. “It’s very sad, but finding microplastic particles in fresh snow in Antarctica highlights the scale of plastic pollution even in the most remote parts of the world,” said Alex Avis, a student at the University of Canterbury in New Zealand. the study Together with many scholars.

Student Alex Aves (left) records data while sampling snow in Antarctica

Source: dpa / Bella Zeldis

Aves and her colleagues took samples in 2019 from 19 sites on the Ross Ice Shelf, which covers the southern half of the Ross Sea in Antarctica. The result shocked her: each sample contained microplastic particles.

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This refers to synthetic, non-biodegradable polymers with a size of less than five millimeters. The research article was published Wednesday in the journal SciencecryosphereChest.

Discover 13 different types of plastic

On average, the researchers detected 29 microplastic particles per liter of melted snow. Thirteen different types of plastic have been discovered, but most are PET (polyethylene terephthalate), which is mainly used to make plastic bottles and textile fibres. In samples taken near research stations, the density of microplastics was approximately three times higher than that of samples taken from remote areas.

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shopping bags with imprint "Fertilizer" From retail Rewe at a table in Berlin, Germany, April 11, 2012. Consumer advocates have drawn attention to the fact that more than two-thirds of bioplastic carrier bags consist of crude oil and cannot be composted or recycled.  Photo: Jens Kalaene dpa/lbn

The particles can travel thousands of miles through the air, the researchers said, but it is likely that the human presence in Antarctica left a microplastic “footprint”. Anyway, the effects are enormous, the paper said. “The organisms of Antarctica have adapted to harsh environmental conditions over millions of years, and rapid environmental changes caused by human influence threaten the unique ecosystems of the polar regions.”

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