Sunday, October 2, 2022

Plastic Rain Phenomenon, Could It Be?

  • In the United States in 2020 a group of researchers analyzed nearly 98 percent of rain and wind samples collected over 14 months in 11 of the country’s most remote regions.
  • Surprisingly, the rain and wind samples contained microplastic particles. In all, the amount is around 1,000 metric tons. This is equivalent to 120 million plastic water bottles.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] Defines microplastics as small plastic particles less than 0.2 inches in length [5 milimeter]Either directly released into the environment or formed indirectly in the environment.
  • Microplastics can damage human cells and cause death and trigger allergic reactions.

In the United States in 2020 a group of researchers analyzed more than 98 percent of rain and wind samples collected over 14 months in 11 of the country’s most remote regions.

Surprisingly, the rain and wind samples contained microplastic particles. In all, the amount is around 1,000 metric tons. This is equivalent to 120 million plastic water bottles.

“We were surprised by the level” deposit And try to find out where is the calculation error. “We confirmed through scanning 32 different particles that about 4 percent of the atmospheric particles analyzed from the study site were synthetic polymers,” said Janice Brahney, an environmental scientist at Utah State University. Utah State University.edu,

research title “Plastic Rain in Protected Areas of the United States” it was published in science12 June 2020 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz5819.

rest: Robot fish to solve microplastic problem

Plastic Rain Phenomenon, Could It Be?
Garbage dump at Sarimukti Landfill, CIpatat, West Bandung Regency, West Java. Photo: Joko Subinarto

spread easily

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [NOAA] Defines microplastics as small plastic particles less than 0.2 inches in length [5 milimeter]Either directly released into the environment or formed indirectly in the environment.

In addition to coming from large plastic waste that breaks down into smaller pieces, microplastics can also come from polyethylene plastics that are intentionally produced and added to some products. For example, beauty products, cleaning materials, paints, etc.

With very small size and light weight, microplastics can easily spread to all corners of the earth. The particles are not only on land but also drift in the sea or are carried by the wind, reaching distant regions.

When microplastic particles enter the atmosphere, they become part of the core of water vapor that condenses to form clouds. Some particles return to Earth in dry conditions mixed with dust. Some of it falls with rain, which has led to the emergence of the phenomenon of plastic rain, as has happened and has been studied in several regions in the United States.

rest: Researchers: The impact of microplastics on human health needs further study

Plastic Rain Phenomenon, Could It Be?
TPA Sarimukti, which has an area of ​​about 25 hectares, collects an average of 2,000 tonnes of waste per day. Photo: Joko Subinarto

This plastic rain phenomenon is similar to the acid rain that occurred in Europe and North America a few decades ago. The only difference is the reason. Acid rain is caused by emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides from power plants.

Given the vast and widespread use of plastics, plastic rain that occurred in some parts of the United States, may currently occur, and will occur in other regions of the Earth as well.

The more plastics used, the more waste is generated, the more microplastics pollute the environment.

rest: Study: Worryingly, sharks in ocean are now exposed to microplastics

Plastic Rain Phenomenon, Could It Be?
Plastic waste which pollutes the environment. Photo: Joko Subinarto

health effects

research title A rapid review and meta-regression analysis of the toxic effects of microplastic exposure in human cellsDanopoulos et al. [2022] Concluded, microplastics can cause damage and death in human cells and trigger allergic reactions.

The study analyzed 17 previous studies looking at the toxic effects of microplastics on human cell lines.

The research team compared microplastic particles that cause cellular damage with microplastics that humans consume through contaminated drinking water, seafood and salt.

They found that some types of damage, such as cell death, allergic reactions, and cell wall damage, are caused by microplastics ingested by the human body. According to Danopoulos and colleagues, this condition is an early event in the emergence of health effects.

Plastic Rain Phenomenon, Could It Be?
The presence of microplastics in the atmosphere through a microscope. photo: Janice Brahney / Utah State University

There are three important elements that we must do to reduce plastic waste. First, innovation. We need innovations that allow the birth of eco-friendly plastic alternatives.

another, infrastructure which is classified as hard and soft. Rigid infrastructure related to ancillary facilities for waste management systems, starting with disposal, collection and reprocessing. Soft infrastructure relating to policies or regulations. For example, ban the use of single use plastic bags.

thirdSociety as a consumer plays a very important role in reducing plastic. We can make minimum efforts to use plastic by starting at individual, household and corporate levels.

*Joko SubinartoColumnist and blogger based in Bandung, West Java.

Reference:

Eleanor Imster. 2020. Plastic Precipitation: More than 1,000 tons of microplastic precipitation in the western US.

Evangelos Danopoulos. 2022. A rapid review and meta-regression analysis of the toxic effects of microplastic exposure in humans.

Matt Simon. 2020. Plastic rain is the new acid rain.

NOAA. 2021. What are microplastics?

Nation World News Desk
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