Environment Microplastics Are Present In Clouds, Confirm Japanese Scientists

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Washington: Researchers in Japan have confirmed microplastics are present in clouds, where they are likely affecting the climate in ways that aren't yet fully understood.
In a study published in Environmental Chemistry Letters, scientists climbed Mount Fuji and Mount Oyama in order to collect water from the mists that shroud their peaks, then applied advanced imaging techniques to the samples to determine their physical and chemical properties.

The team identified nine different types of polymers and one type of rubber in the airborne microplastics -- ranging in size from 7.1 to 94.6 micrometers.

Each liter of cloud water contained between 6.7 to 13.9 pieces of the plastics.

What's more, "hydrophilic" or water-loving polymers were abundant, suggesting the particles play a significant role in rapid cloud formation and thus climate systems.

"If the issue of 'plastic air pollution' is not addressed proactively, climate change and ecological risks may become a reality, causing irreversible and serious environmental damage in the future," lead author Hiroshi Okochi of Waseda University warned in a statement Wednesday.

 
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