Visit ArabTopics.com

It's Raining Plastic, From the Pyrenees to the Rockies to the Arctic

Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers. Photograph: USGS (source)

by Thomas Neuburger

I often worry whether we aren't one of those species that self-eliminates, that commits "ecological suicide" as many bacteria do when they turn their environment too acid to live in. It's certain we're polluting the air with CO2 in a way that will change the climate from habitable to very inhospitable.

But we're doing this in other ways as well — according to the latest news, surprisingly, with plastic. To be more exact, the microplastic that results from the breakdown of our trash, which as you likely know if you look at your garbage, is filled with plastic.

Microplastics are fibers that can be seen only with a microscope. The latest reports show that microplastic is not only present in abundance in the ocean, where much of our bulk plastic resides, but also in the air and, via the same settling effect that drops soot and dust to the surface of the earth, on the ground we walk across.

Day after day, year after year, minute after minute, a film of microplastic particles is raining on the earth. The more we produce it, the more we will live in it. If in a thousand years we revert as a species to Stone Age life, reduced in numbers and struggling to survive, we'll find the ground, not rich in minerals as it was when our ancestors first walked on it, but rich in the indestructible garbage our descendants' ancestors — us — cast off on the way to their own self-caused demise.

One report from April of this year in Science reveals the amount of plastic descending on the Pyrenees in France:

Prior studies have shown that microplastics, which can be ingested and inhaled by humans—and which may lead to reproductive issues in some marine mollusks—can rise up into the atmosphere and drop back to solid ground in the cities they come from. But scientists thought these plastics couldn’t travel very far from their urban sources.

To find out just how far they can go, the researchers collected particles falling from the sky in dust, rain, and snow for 5 months at the Bernadouze meteorological station in the Pyrenees mountains in southwestern France—100 kilometers from the nearest city.

To their horror, the authors found plastics, predominantly the kind from the single-use packaging used in shipping. From their sample, they determined that each day, an average of 365 plastic particles sifted down from above into the square meter surface of the collection device. If comparable quantities of airborne microplastic fall across the rest of the country, the researchers estimate roughly 2000 tons of plastic blanket France each year, they report today in Nature Geoscience.

Another report in the Guardian says this about plastic falling on the Rockies:

Plastic was the furthest thing from Gregory Wetherbee’s mind when he began analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains. “I guess I expected to see mostly soil and mineral particles,” said the US Geological Survey researcher. Instead, he found multicolored microscopic plastic fibers.

The discovery, published in a recent study (pdf) titled “It is raining plastic”, raises new questions about the amount of plastic waste permeating the air, water, and soil virtually everywhere on Earth. ...

Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers, as well as beads and shards. The findings shocked Wetherbee, who had been collecting the samples in order to study nitrogen pollution.

There's even plastic landing on the ice floes of the Arctic. According to the UPI in April: "New research published on Wednesday in Science Advances shows that even the remote ice floes of the Arctic have measurable amounts of microplastics and microfibers gracing their surfaces."

We eat it, we drink it, we breathe it. Does it hurt us? Hard to imagine it doesn't, though the subject is just now coming under scrutiny, as this study published in Science Direct notes:

Microplastics have recently been detected in atmospheric fallout in Greater Paris. Due to their small size, they can be inhaled and may induce lesions in the respiratory system dependent on individual susceptibility and particle properties. Even though airborne microplastics are a new topic, several observational studies have reported the inhalation of plastic fibers and particles, especially in exposed workers, often coursing with dyspnea caused by airway and interstitial inflammatory responses.

While the authors notes that inhaled microplastic can cause respiratory lesions, dispnea (shortness of breath) and inflammation, they don't mention the relationship of chronic inflammation with cancer.

I'm frankly not sure we can address the problem of plastic, for the same reason we can't address the problem of fossil fuel as a source of atmospheric CO2. Both are too embedded in the way our species lives.

As a result, both will be embedded in the way we die as well.
 

Source: 
Down With Tyranny

Dear friends of this aggregator

  • Yes, I intentionally removed Newsbud from the aggregator on Mar 22.
  • Newsbud did not block the aggregator, although their editor blocked me on twitter after a comment I made to her
  • As far as I know, the only site that blocks this aggregator is Global Research. I have no idea why!!
  • Please stop recommending Newsbud and Global Research to be added to the aggregator.

Support this site

News Sources

Source Items
WWI Hidden History 51
Grayzone Project 191
Pass Blue 218
Dilyana Gaytandzhieva 14
John Pilger 416
The Real News 367
Scrutinised Minds 29
Need To Know News 2647
FEE 4703
Marine Le Pen 380
Francois Asselineau 25
Opassande 53
HAX on 5July 220
Henrik Alexandersson 939
Mohamed Omar 375
Professors Blog 10
Arg Blatte Talar 40
Angry Foreigner 18
Fritte Fritzson 12
Teologiska rummet 32
Filosofiska rummet 109
Vetenskapsradion Historia 157
Snedtänkt (Kalle Lind) 220
Les Crises 2853
Richard Falk 167
Ian Sinclair 111
SpinWatch 61
Counter Currents 9697
Kafila 492
Gail Malone 41
Transnational Foundation 221
Rick Falkvinge 95
The Duran 9822
Vanessa Beeley 131
Nina Kouprianova 9
MintPress 5647
Paul Craig Roberts 1869
News Junkie Post 58
Nomi Prins 27
Kurt Nimmo 191
Strategic Culture 4878
Sir Ken Robinson 25
Stephan Kinsella 99
Liberty Blitzkrieg 854
Sami Bedouin 64
Consortium News 2685
21 Century Wire 3602
Burning Blogger 324
Stephen Gowans 90
David D. Friedman 152
Anarchist Standard 16
The BRICS Post 1518
Tom Dispatch 529
Levant Report 18
The Saker 4365
The Barnes Review 530
John Friend 481
Psyche Truth 160
Jonathan Cook 145
New Eastern Outlook 4062
School Sucks Project 1779
Giza Death Star 1941
Andrew Gavin Marshall 15
Red Ice Radio 617
GMWatch 2332
Robert Faurisson 150
Espionage History Archive 34
Jay's Analysis 989
Le 4ème singe 90
Jacob Cohen 210
Agora Vox 15768
Cercle Des Volontaires 436
Panamza 2202
Fairewinds 117
Project Censored 952
Spy Culture 540
Conspiracy Archive 76
Crystal Clark 11
Timothy Kelly 575
PINAC 1482
The Conscious Resistance 851
Independent Science News 80
The Anti Media 6690
Positive News 820
Brandon Martinez 30
Steven Chovanec 61
Lionel 296
The Mind renewed 443
Natural Society 2619
Yanis Varoufakis 1007
Tragedy & Hope 122
Dr. Tim Ball 114
Web of Debt 146
Porkins Policy Review 428
Conspiracy Watch 174
Eva Bartlett 602
Libyan War Truth 337
DeadLine Live 1913
Kevin Ryan 64
BSNEWS 2082
Aaron Franz 238
Traces of Reality 166
Revelations Radio News 121
Dr. Bruce Levine 147
Peter B Collins 1586
Faux Capitalism 205
Dissident Voice 10865
Climate Audit 224
Donna Laframboise 445
Judith Curry 1136
Geneva Business Insider 40
Media Monarchy 2419
Syria Report 78
Human Rights Investigation 93
Intifada (Voice of Palestine) 1685
Down With Tyranny 12056
Laura Wells Solutions 44
Video Rebel's Blog 438
Revisionist Review 485
Aletho News 20712
ضد العولمة 27
Penny for your thoughts 3042
Northerntruthseeker 2412
كساريات 37
Color Revolutions and Geopolitics 27
Stop Nato 4715
AntiWar.com Blog 3098
AntiWar.com Original Content 7006
Corbett Report 2385
Stop Imperialism 491
Land Destroyer 1206
Webster Tarpley Website 1111

Compiled Feeds

Public Lists

Title Visibility
Funny Public