Since the Government of Canada has declared Climate Change as a national emergency earlier this year, it comes as no surprise that Earth is facing various forms of pollution. However, one new study shows that plastic pollution has gotten so bad, that it's actually raining down from our skies. According to recent research, microplastic particles the size of a breadcrumb have been found in rain and snow around Canada, and scientists aren't exactly sure how toxic this could be.
A new study called It's Raining Plastic discovered that tiny plastic fibers were located in slopes near the Rocky Mountain National Park in Denver, Colorado. However, it's not just the States that are facing this issue. Liisa Jantunen, who has been researching microplastic in Canada, told National Post that microplastic has been found across the nation.
According to NOAA, microplastics come for a variety of different sources, including the breakdown of larger plastic objects, and from microbeads that are often used in toothpaste and exfoliants. Since these microplastic pieces are so small, they are often able to travel into the atmosphere.
Studying samples of snow since 2017, Jantunen states that microplastic is raining down from our skies throughout the country, however, it is more noticeable in urban environments. Cities with more pollutants, such as Toronto, will often have more microplastic in their water opposed to other areas.
However, Jantunen states that these microplastic fibers are also being discovered in remote areas of Canada as well, showcasing that pollution is affecting even the greenest areas.
Jantunen told National Post that, "We've been collecting snow in places like Whitehorse, Alert, and Eureka as well as in Southern Ontario and we've found microplastics in all our snow samples."
Yet it's not just snowfall where microplastic is visible. Canadian researchers have also been able to discover these plastic pieces in ocean sediment and in plankton. The problem has gotten so bad that Jantunen has estimated that for every liter of water, hundreds to thousands of particles could be present.
It seems that the entire world is also facing this problem. The United States and Sweden have also reported finding huge amounts of microplastic in their precipitation and water.
What makes matters even worse, is that scientists still aren't exactly sure what the effects these microplastics will have on society. Microplastic does contain chemicals that could become toxic to those who are around it.
However, scientists aren't yet sure how toxic microplastic pollution can actually get. Since microplastic is small enough to enter the human body, it is starting to become a concern about how this will affect us in the long run.
Scientists are currently studying microplastics but have very little information on the potential toxicity of it so far.