So says the first weather forecast of plastic pollution. The French capital will be showered in billions of microplastic particles. They will fall from the sky during the five days of negotiations on a treaty on this material. The rain of microplastics over Paris is an example of what is happening in the world.
The predicted ‘rain’ will range from 40 to 48 kilograms of plastic fragments per day. If it rains heavily, the ‘plastic fallout’ is likely to increase by a factor of 10. The forecast envisages quite large particles. Mostly synthetic fibers of at least 50 microns in length. For reference, a human hair is about 80 microns. The plastics we should be most concerned about are those between 10 nanometers and one micrometer.
In the environment
The method developed by Minderoo Foundation scientists is based on research in Paris from 2015. It was learned that most of the particles were nylon and polyester. Possibly coming from clothing. Other pieces were detached by tires, which diffuse them when vehicles brake.
Concern about the impact of this material on the environment and human well-being is growing. Therefore, research documenting the phenomenon is increasing.
These plastic particles decompose in the environment. The “toxic cocktail” ends up in our organism, causing unimaginable damage to our health. In humans, microscopic pieces of plastic have already been detected in the blood. Also in breast milk and placenta.
In addition, it is highlighted that every minute the equivalent of a garbage truck is dumped in the ocean. As for animals, microplastics generate an increased risk of cancer. And they cause reproductive problems and DNA mutations.
In 2022, 175 nations agreed to forge a legally binding treaty. They hoped to curb plastic pollution. No major breakthroughs are expected at the technical talks that begin May 29. But among the major policies to be discussed is a global ban on single-use plastic items. It would be a “polluter pays” system and a tax on the production of new or “virgin” plastic.
But for now, nothing will stop the rain of microplastics on Paris.