Scientists have for the first time found microplastics in freshly fallen Antarctic snow.
Researchers from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand collected samples from 19 sites in Antarctica and each contained tiny plastic fragments.
Microplastics stem from the erosion of plastic materials and are smaller than a grain of rice – sometimes even invisible to the naked eye.
The researchers found an average of 29 particles per litre of melted snow.
They identified 13 different types of plastics and the most common was polyethylene terephthalate (PET), mostly used in soft-drink bottles and clothing. This was found in 79% of the samples.
Previous studies have found microplastic pollution in Antarctic sea ice and surface water, but this is the first reported case in fresh snow.
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