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Microplastics (MP) were found in substantial amounts in Arctic snow samples, according to an August study in Science Advances. Although the concentration of microplastics found in Arctic snow was significantly lower than in snow sampled from both remote and populated regions in Europe, the researchers found it was “substantial for a secluded location such as the Arctic.”
While the exact source of the microplastics is not clear, the scientists say they appear to be airborne, conceivably “emitted or dispersed locally by ships and by wind.”
“The high MP concentrations detected in snow samples from Continental Europe to the Arctic indicate significant air pollution and stress the urgent need for research on human and animal health effects focusing on airborne MPs,” they conclude.