“Where’s Airborne Plastic? Everywhere, Scientists Find.”

“There’s “no nook or cranny” on the planet where it doesn’t end up, the lead researcher on a new study said.”

“Plastic pollution isn’t just fouling the world’s oceans. It is also in the air we breathe, traveling on the wind and drifting down from the skies, according to a new study. More than 1,000 tons of tiny fragments rain down each year on national parks and wilderness areas in the American West alone, equivalent to between 123 million and 300 million plastic bottles worth.

“There’s no nook or cranny on the surface of the earth that won’t have microplastics,” said Janice Brahney, a Utah State University scientist who is lead author on the new study. “It’s really unnerving to think about it.”

While the troublesome presence of plastics in landfills, in the oceans and in freshwater environments like the Great Lakes is well known, research into airborne particles is more recent. Previous papers have described finding airborne microplastics in, among other places, Europe, China and in the Arctic.”

John Schwartz reports for the New York Times June 11, 2020.