Plastic Pollution Found At North & South Pole For The First Time
The North and South poles are pristine areas and usually considered to be untouched by human activity. Now, significant amounts of plastic particles have been found in these areas, proving just how toxic and far-reaching this issue has become.
Utrecht University in the Netherlands, the University of Copenhagen and the Université de Bruxelles in Belgium have recently released findings that they found significant amounts of nano plastics in both the North and South polar regions. This is the first time that a discovery has been made in polar ice. Nano plastics are more toxic than microplastics due to them being smaller in size and having the ability to transport in the air.
“Our data suggest that nanoplastics pollution is not a new problem. We are only now becoming aware of it, because we have recently developed the right method to measure it. In the Greenland core, we see nanoplastics pollution happening all the way from 1960s. So, organisms in that region, and likely all over the world, have been exposed to it for quite some time now,” said Dusan Materic, lead author of the study from Utrecht University, in a press release.
Throughout their study, numerous types of nanoplastics were identified in the polar ice. However, the most prominent was polyethylene which is one of the most utilised types of plastic found in single-used packaging, disposable bags and food containers. More than half of the particles found in the study were polyethylene. Nanoparticles from polyethylene terephalate, also known as polyester, were also found. Polyester is used abundantly in the clothing industry and found in water and soft drink bottles.
Dr Dusan Materic, an environmental scientist who led the research, said: "Now we know that nanoplastics are transported to these corners of the Earth in these quantities…This indicates that nanoplastics is really a bigger pollution problem than we thought."
Holly Moon, Content Manager