News & Events
A lot of microplastics found in the Arctic
- August 19, 2019
- Posted by: Wiley M. Wagner
- Category: Science
SVALBARD AND JAN MAYEN ISLANDS – 2015/07/20: A walrus (Odobenus rosmarus) is resting on an ice floe in the pack ice north of Svalbard, Norway. (Photo by Wolfgang Kaehler / LightRocket via Getty Images)
The growing problem of accumulating quite a large amount of plastic in the world, which cannot be processed, is becoming more and more urgent and acute not only for the most populated places on our planet – on the contrary, even for the most remote and isolated ones. So today, a team of environmental researchers from several European universities has released a statistical report regarding the detection of a sufficiently high specific volume of microplastic in some regions of the Arctic, in particular in the isolated island of Svalbard.
Microplastic is the same non-recyclable plastic, but its size does not exceed 5 mm in diameter – such a small size makes it especially dangerous for animals and the environment as a whole. For example, in the territory of the aforementioned remote island of Svalbard, a huge amount of microplastics was discovered – about 10,000 microplastics per liter of snow, which is a really alarming indicator. So far, the research team is in no hurry to explain how such a large amount of hazardous plastic accumulates in the Arctic, however, according to the most reasonable and balanced theory, this is explained by the fact that parallel air flows and winds somehow bring plastic there.
Given the fact that microplastic is also relatively easily swallowed by animals, it can be assumed that part of it somehow enters the Arctic together with migrating individuals. Nevertheless, this does not solve the main part of the problem, and so far, experts are wondering how to prevent this.
Given the fact that there are many truly isolated regions and islands in the Arctic, it becomes surprising to observe so many microplastics – on the other hand, there is an assumption that it is nailed to certain tributaries of Arctic rivers and glaciers from the mainland, which also indicates a problem lack of control over special ecological zones at the intersection of various flows.