More than 1000 tons of plastic rains into Western US protected lands annually

The world produced 348 million metric tons of plastic in 2017 and global production shows no sign of slowing down. In the United States, the per capita production of plastic waste is 340 grams per day. High resilience and longevity make plastics particularly useful in everyday life, but these same properties lead to progressive fragmentation instead of degradation in the environment. 

Utah State University Assistant Professor Janice Brahney and her team used high-resolution atmospheric deposition data and identified samples of microplastics and other particulates collected over 14 months in 11 national parks and wilderness areas. The researchers identified plastic and polymers' composition to identify sources of plastic emitted into the atmosphere and track its movement and fallout.

The study examined the source and life history of both wet (rain) and dry microplastic deposition. Cities and population centers were found to serve as the initial source of plastics associated with wet deposition, but secondary sources included the redistribution of microplastics re-entrained from soils or surface waters.

Results from this study highlight the source, transport, and fate of plastics on Earth surfaces as well as the contamination of US protected environments.



Alongside urbanization, the problem of plastic waste pollution is more and more prominent, reducing the use of plastic bags maybe is one of the simplest environmental protection methods.

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