This is not a joke. You might be able to tell at a glance. But it certainly rains plastic every day. The University of Auckland (New Zealand) made a measurement. 5,000 microplastic particles are deposited on every square meter of Auckland’s urban rooftops… every day.
This dust amounts to about 74 metric tons of plastic per year. That’s about three million plastic bottles. And the research compares this with other cities. London, for example, had data of only 771 plastic microparticles per meter. However, these measurements are not up to date.
In the atmosphere
Microplastics are believed to circulate even through our respiratory system. In the experiment, the vast majority of the particles captured were between 10 and 50 micrometers in size. Only 3% were larger than 100 micrometers.
“The production of microplastics in the air from waves could be a clue. Some microplastics get into the atmosphere. And they are transported to remote locations, such as here in New Zealand,” they revealed.
In 2019, a study in Europe found microplastics in the remote mountains of the Pyrenees. They were carried there from some small towns nearby. By 2021, airborne microplastics were already ubiquitous in the atmosphere. They could already be affecting the Earth’s climate. The particles could exacerbate the greenhouse effect by absorbing and scattering light and heat.
In the rain… of plastic
The standard of the measurements is important. In a study in Hamburg in 2019, for example, only microplastics larger than 63 micrometers were measured. The airborne particulate counts in this city appeared to be lower. But perhaps it was just that smaller plastics were not measured.
It’s true. It rains plastic every day. Whether plastic pollution is toxic is not yet known. Nor are the exact consequences for human health known. There is more danger the smaller the fragment or fiber. That is because it is more likely to get into our cells when we breathe.