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Disturbing Discovery Of Microplastic Near Summit Of Mount Everest ㅡ 8,440m Above Sea Level

Disturbing Discovery Of Microplastic Near Summit Of Mount Everest ㅡ 8,440m Above Sea Level

Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that pollute the environment. Microplastics are not a specific type of plastic, but rather any type of plastic fraction that is less than 5 mm in length according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and European Chemicals Agency (ECA). They are entering natural ecosystems from a wide variety of sources.

Researchers detected microplastics at 8,440m above sea level in the Balcony of Mount Everest, which is approximately 400m below its peak, according to preliminary findings.

According to Dr. Imogen Napper, the lead author of the study, "Microplastics are generated by a range of sources and many aspects of our daily lives can lead to microplastics entering the environment."

Samples were collected in April and May 2019 as part of the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition, and then analyzed at specialized facilities in Plymouth. In samples collected on the mountain and from the valley below, polyester, acrylic, nylon, and polypropylene fibers were present.

The highest concentrations of microplastics were found around Base Camp, where climbers and trekkers spend most of their time. The fibers were most likely to come from clothing, tents, and ropes used by mountaineers, the scientists said. Other recent discoveries of microplastic pollution in remote parts of the Swiss Alps and the French Pyrenees indicate that particles can also be transmitted by the wind from further afield.

Mount Everest

Dr. Imogen Napper, said:- "It really surprised me to find microplastics in every single snow sample I've analyzed."

"Over the past few years, microplastic contamination has been found from the bottom of the sea to near the top of the highest mountain in the world", "According to our new findings, highlighting the extent of global plastic pollution in remote environments."

"Finding microplastics at the highest altitude ever recorded is a timely reminder that we need to do more to protect our environment." 

The study was published in the journal One Earth.

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