Plastic Rain

Plastic waste is now so ubiquitous that not only are our oceans filled with it, but plastic particles have now been detected in the air high up on the Rocky Mountains of the United States, falling with the rain.

How did it get there?

Plastic micro-particles are so small they can be carried in water vapour out in the oceans up into the skies to form clouds. As winds blow the clouds over land, eventually the clouds will drop rain. The plastic particles fall with the rain. A US Geological Survey across parts of the Rocky Mountains in Colorado found plastic in 90% of its samples of rainfall.

An earlier study found plastic particles on the Pyrenean mountain tops along the border of France and Spain. The same report links a trail of plastic pollution far inland in China, the UK and everywhere. Plastic microfibres, beads and micro-particles are easily carried by the winds around the world. If this plastic waste can be carried in the air, then we can and are breathing it into us.

We must now change our use of plastic completely. Only 9% of plastic has ever been recycled and we are producing more and more on a daily basis. Since 1950, we have produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic, of which 50% is single-use and disposed of; that is, thrown away, ending up in landfill, rivers, lakes and the sea.

All nations must reverse usage of plastic to almost nothing. Richer nations cannot continue to dump their plastic waste on poorer nations’ shores. Ways must be devised to reduce our usage to nothing: stop producing plastic and stop using it wastefully. It’s time to use decomposables, with materials compatible with Mother Nature that nourish instead of pollute her, to replace plastic in ALL aspects of life. Humanity must work out how to clean our planet. Read more about what you, in your personal life, can do in our Plastics brochure here.

Sources:

US Geological Survey:
https://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2019/1048/ofr20191048.pdf

Reports in the press:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/aug/12/raining-plastic-colorado-usgs-microplastics

https://www.sciencealert.com/us-geological-survey-finds-it-s-raining-plastic-in-the-rocky-mountains

Pyrenees
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/15/winds-can-carry-microplastics-anywhere-and-everywhere

Plastic history:
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/23/all-the-plastic-ever-made-study-comic

Published in the categories Soil, Plastic