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Microplastics detected in clouds hanging atop two Japanese mountains

 

Microplastics detected in clouds hanging atop two Japanese mountains


Findings regarding clouds above Mount Fuji and Mount Oyama highlight how microplastics are highly mobile

Microplastics have been found everywhere from the depths of the ocean to the ice of Antarctica, but a new study shows they've been discovered in a surprising new place: in clouds hanging over two mountains in Japan. Ta.  
 The clouds surrounding Japan's Mt. Fuji and Mt. Daisen contain alarming amounts of tiny plastic particles, revealing how pollution can spread over long distances and potentially contaminate crops and water around the planet with "plastic rain." It highlights what is there.  
 The samples taken by the researchers were so concentrated in plastic that it is thought to cause cloud formation while emitting greenhouse gases. "If we do not proactively address the problem of plastic air pollution, climate change and ecological risks will become a reality, potentially causing serious and irreversible environmental damage in the future," said the study's lead author. Hiroshi Okochi, a professor at Waseda University, said. said in a statement.  
 The peer-reviewed paper was published in Environmental Chemistry Letters, and the authors believe it is the first to investigate clouds of microplastics. This pollutant is made up of plastic particles smaller than 5 millimeters and is released when larger pieces of plastic break down. They may also be intentionally added to some products or discharged into industrial wastewater. Major sources are thought to include tires and plastic beads used in personal care products. Recent studies have shown that they are accumulating in large quantities around the world, and it is estimated that up to 10 million tons are released into the ocean every year.  
  People and animals ingest or inhale large amounts of microplastics, which have been detected in human lungs, brains, hearts, blood, placenta, and feces. Although its toxicity is still being studied, new research exposing mice to microplastics suggests health problems such as behavioral changes, and other research has linked it to cancer and irritable bowel syndrome. has been discovered.  
  Researchers from Waseda University collected samples from 1,300 to 3,776 meters above sea level and found nine types of polymers, including polyurethane, and a type of rubber. Cloud fog contains about 6.7 to 13.9 microplastics per liter, including large amounts of "water-loving" plastic fragments, which contribute to the pollution "rapid cloud formation." "They play an important role, ultimately influencing the overall climate." may have an impact,” the authors wrote in a press release. 
  This is potentially problematic because microplastics break down faster when exposed to ultraviolet light in the upper atmosphere, releasing greenhouse gases in the process. High concentrations of these microplastics in clouds in sensitive polar regions can disrupt ecological balance, the authors write. These results reveal that microplastics are highly mobile and can travel long distances in the air and environment. Previous studies have found the material in rain, and the study authors say the main sources of airborne plastic are ocean spray and aerosols released when waves break or sea foam bursts. states that it may be. Dust kicked up by cars on the road is also a potential source, the authors write. 

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