The plastic pollution does not only affect earth and water of the planet, but also the atmosphere that surrounds it.
Although there are not many studies about it, it’s clear that microplastics can be transported for very long distances.
In this way, even the most remote corners of the planet get contaminated, through wind and snow.
The analysis of some samples of snow from the Swiss Alps and the Arctic has revealed a high, abnormal concentration of microplastics.
The snow absorbs the microplastics in the atmosphere and releases them on the ground or in the water when it melts.
The problem of air contamination requires careful analysis and quick solutions, because it involves and affects all living beings.
In 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Every year, about eight million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean; it means a full garbage truck discharged into the sea every minute. Between 60% and 90% of the rubbish accumulated on coasts, on surface and seabed is made up of plastic. The statement is by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and highlights in all its urgency the problem of abuse of disposable non-biodegradable plastic products, thar are not (or cannot be) properly disposed of, and end up in the sea.
Some types of plastic, from fossil sources, decompose into smaller and smaller residues: microplastics.
In this way, in addition to waste such as cigarette stubs, shopper and plastic caps, that cause death by suffocation of various sea species, microplastics threaten the survival of the entire marine habitat with constant, inevitable intoxication.
In the study “Microplastics as an emerging threat to terrestrial Ecosystems”, published recently by a team of researchers of the Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (Ligb) and Freie Universität Berlin su Global Change Biology, results that soil pollution is 4 to 23 times greater by microplastics than sea pollution.
Microplastics and nanoplastics are small residues that remain in the soil as a result of the decomposition process of plastics from fossil sources.
This has devastating effects on the ecosystem for the entire food chain.
During the decomposition of plastics, additives released (phthalates, bpa, etc.) interfere in the hormonal system of living beings.
Decomposition residues permeate soil, altering its characteristics and affecting fauna habits and nutrition.
Human beings also take microplastics every day, both through their diet and clothes they wear.
Microplastics have been found not only in foods such as meat and fish, but also in salt, fruit, vegetables and sugar.
On a global scale, recycling percentages of disposable plastics from fossil sources are still very low. Actually, it is one of the largest percentages in the plastic category responsible for the massive pollution of the planet. In addition to the abuse of single-use products that are not compostable, the problem of their disposal is even more urgent.
Incinerators, often used as a “solution” for the problem, can only receive undifferentiated waste, that, through combustion, is transformed into energy.
But energy-efficiency is rather low and does not justify constant work of incinerators or the proposal to build new ones to solve waste management.
It is necessary to rethink the way of consuming objects and products with attention both to their life cycle and their disposal as residues.