Microplastics from & # 39; high-tech hiking gear & # 39; were first found in remote glaciers, scientists say
- There could be 162 million plastic particles over the entire Forni glacier
- 40 percent may have been skipped from neighboring settlements and villages and towns
- The remaining 40 percent probably came from outer clothing made for harsh climates
- The only way to prevent this is to wear only natural cotton and wood, scientists say
Microplastics were found for the first time in glaciers.
Evidence of the small plastic fragments were discovered in the Alps, confirming their widespread contamination of the earth's natural resources.
Microplastics are defined as plastic particles that measure less than 0.2 inches (five millimeters) and it is thought that most microplastics arrived via walkers who visited the region.
They have previously appeared in remote areas such as the Arctic and the same researchers have now placed them in the Forni glaciers in Switzerland.
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For the first time, microplastics were found in mountain glaciers, confirming their widespread contamination of natural resources. They previously appeared in the Arctic and researchers have now placed them in the Forni glaciers (photo) in Switzerland
Based on the 75 particles found in glacier sediment samples, it was estimated that there could be 162 million plastic particles over the entire Forni glacier.
Most of the plastics found are fibers instead of plastic fragments and therefore indicate that they come from clothing instead of plastic bottles.
Although some microplastics are probably blown from nearby towns and villages, the scientists say that the only way to deposit microplastics can be completely avoided is to wear only natural fibers, such as cotton, and clogs.
Most outdoor wear for hikers to the region are designed for low temperatures and high altitudes are a mixture of synthetic and natural fibers.
The Forni glacier where the sediments were collected is a 6 km long glacier in the Bregaglia Mountains in the Grisons region in southeastern Switzerland, very close to Italy.
It has a height of around 12,000 feet (3,668 m).
The researchers found polyamide, polypropylene and polyethylene among them.
The current study was conducted by Dr. Roberto Sergio Azzoni at the University of Milan and his team.
Previously, microparticles have surfaced in remote areas such as the Arctic, where the process of freezing and melting sea ice provides a good transporter of plastic particles
Previously, microplastics have appeared in remote areas such as the Arctic and researchers have now established them in the Forni glaciers in Switzerland.
The process of freezing and melting sea ice in the North Pole makes it a particularly good transporter of plastic particles.
Even larvaceans found in the sea have shown to provide a route for the transport of microplastics to deep-sea food webs.
The plastic pollution on earth will have doubled in 2030, which threatens nature and human health.
Recent expeditions to collect samples in the Arctic found record levels of microplastics and fragments containing polyethylene, nylon, polyester, and cellulose acetate.
High levels of paint and nylon particles were also obtained.
Environmentally friendly goals WWF International has warned that plastic waste in the oceans could reach 300 million tons in just over a decade.
That would double the amount of plastic in the ocean, which lasted more than half a century between 1950 and 2016.
Almost a third of all produced plastics, or 104 million tons per year, will find its way to the oceans and the natural world.
The latest findings from the mountain glaciers will be presented this week at the European Geosciences Union conference in Vienna, Austria.
WHAT ARE MICROPLASTICS AND HOW DO IT COME IN OUR WATERWAYS?
Microplastics are plastic particles that measure less than five millimeters (0.2 inches).
They have hit the headlines in recent years because improper disposal has caused tons of waste to find their way to the ocean.
Every year, tons of plastic waste are not recycled and processed correctly, which can mean that they end up in marine ecosystems.
Although it is unclear exactly how they end up in the water, microplastics can penetrate through simple daily wear of clothing and carpets.
Clothes dryers can also be a source, especially if they have an open air vent.
Plastics do not fall apart for thousands of years and there are estimated to be millions of pieces of plastic waste in the oceans. This number is expected to rise.
Studies have also shown that 700,000 plastic fibers can be released into the atmosphere with every wash cycle.
Current water systems cannot effectively filter all microplastic contaminants due to the varying particle size.
The amount of plastic waste in the world's oceans will outweigh the fish by 2050 unless the world takes drastic measures to further recycle, a report released in 2016 revealed.
More than 80 percent of the world's tap water is contaminated with plastic, revealed research published in September 2017.
The US has the highest infection rate of 93 percent, followed by Lebanon and India, experts from the University of Minnesota found.
France, Germany and the UK have the lowest levels, but they still reach 72 percent.
In total, 83 percent of the water samples from dozens of countries around the world contain microplastics.
Scientists warn that microplastics are so small that they can penetrate organs.
Bottled water may not be a safer alternative because scientists have found contaminated samples.
It has proved to be essential that beings of all shapes and sizes have consumed the plastics, directly or indirectly.
Previous research has also shown that microplastics absorb toxic chemicals, which are then released into the gut of animals.