JAPANESE SCIENTISTS DISCOVER MICROPLASTICS IN THE CLOUDS ATOP MOUNT FUJI, OYAMA
When I was still a young child, I learned about how the human body could be polluted with things that were bad for it. While that was a simple way of understanding the problem, it certainly captured my imagination, and not in a good way. The idea that things could get n my body and never come out was appalling, and one that bothered me to no end. And then the idea that the older you get, the more polluted your body became was even more disturbing. In some ways, me head was caught in the storm clouds of imagination. But little did I know then, but those storm clouds are now more real with the news that Japanese scientists have found microplastics in the very clouds themselves. They’re more pervasive than we thought we knew.
MICROPLASTICS WERE ALREADY PERVASIVE, BUT NEWS OF THEM IN THE CLOUDS IS REALLY BAD NEWS
We already knew that microplastics were and are a pervasive issue. And we already know that they’re bad for the environment of the world as well as the environment of our bodies. Well, and the bodies of all life forms on the planet. But we’re still learning about how dangerous they really are, and that ongoing education has captured my imagination anew as an adult. So what are microplastics? They are tiny plastic bodies smaller than 5 millimeters. We know they’re in our blood, in polar snow, and on mountaintops. Yet now we also know that they’re in the very clouds themselves. And that’s bad for more than the obvious.
MICROPLASTICS IN THE CLOUDS COULD MEANS EVEN WORSE NEWS ABOUT GREENHOUSE GASES
A team of Japanese scientists discovered the microplastics in the clouds around the peaks of both Mount Fuji and Mount Oyama. They discovered nine different sorts of polymers (plastics) and one type of rubber. So far, we have no clue how the microplastics made it all the way up there. But it means they are likely even more pervasive than we already knew or suspected. And to explain why this discovery is bad for more than the obvious? It’s because if microplastics are, indeed, in the upper atmosphere, that’s bad news for global warming. And that’s because they would be exposed to UV radiation from the sun, and breakdown up there releasing greenhouse gases.
And here I thought my childhood imagination was enough to lose sleep. You can read more about this study here.