First evidence of microplastics in Antarctic snow

University of Canterbury researchers have published the world’s first study confirming the discovery of microplastics in fresh snow in Antarctica.
Most people think of Antarctica as a pure, unspoiled environment, but a new research released this week found microplastics — plastic particles smaller than a grain of rice – for the first time in newly fallen Antarctic snow.
Fresh snow was collected from Ross Island, Antarctica, and subsequent analysis identified an average of 29 microplastic particles per litre of melted snow. The most likely source of these airborne microplastics is local scientific research stations; however, modelling shows their origin could have been up to 6000 km away.
The origins of microplastics were investigated. Microplastics may have travelled thousands of kilometres in the air, according to atmospheric modelling, but the presence of people in Antarctica is also likely to have left a microplastic ‘footprint,’ the researchers believe
These discoveries, published in the scientific journal The Cryosphere as ‘First evidence of microplastics in Antarctic snow,’ shed light on a severe threat to the Antarctic. Microplastics have been discovered to have harmful effects on the ecosystem, according to research (limiting growth, reproduction, and general biological functions in organisms, as well as negative implications for humans.