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Microplastic Particle - A Global Threat


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#1 LFC

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 11:35 AM

As plastics get dumped into the sea and break down the tiny particles, known as microplastics, are showing up all over the world's oceans. Here's a basic primer if you aren't familiar.
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#2 LFC

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 11:37 AM

Microplastics are so prevalent and so small that they're getting caught up in the evaporation / rain cycle and being deposited all over the globe, not just concentrating in the oceans.

Quote

Hoof it through the national parks of the western United States—Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon—and breathe deep the pristine air. These are unspoiled lands, collectively a great American conservation story. Yet an invisible menace is actually blowing through the air and falling via raindrops: Microplastic particles, tiny chunks (by definition, less than 5 millimeters long) of fragmented plastic bottles and microfibers that fray from clothes, all pollutants that get caught up in Earth’s atmospheric systems and deposited in the wilderness.

Writing today in the journal Science, researchers report a startling discovery: After collecting rainwater and air samples for 14 months, they calculated that over 1,000 metric tons of microplastic particles fall into 11 protected areas in the western US each year. That’s the equivalent of over 120 million plastic water bottles. “We just did that for the area of protected areas in the West, which is only 6 percent of the total US area,” says lead author Janice Brahney, an environmental scientist at Utah State University. “The number was just so large, it's shocking.”

It further confirms an increasingly hellish scenario: Microplastics are blowing all over the world, landing in supposedly pure habitats, like the Arctic and the remote French Pyrenees. They’re flowing into the oceans via wastewater and tainting deep-sea ecosystems, and they’re even ejecting out of the water and blowing onto land in sea breezes. And now in the American West, and presumably across the rest of the world given that these are fundamental atmospheric processes, they are falling in the form of plastic rain—the new acid rain.

" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#3 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 12:27 PM

The not exactly good, but less-bad news is that the stuff that gets deposited on land is exposed to sunlight, and UV is Hell on plastics. They might not be terribly biodegradable [1] but the long-chain polymers get broken up by UV very easily, and the smaller the faster.

[1] Although it looks like decay bacteria are rapidly adapting to the "gift" we're providing. Especially the assorted pseudomonas ($HERSELF's favorite omnivores), which have, for instance, adapted to snarf PCBs in toxic waste that's been buried.
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#4 LFC

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 12:55 PM

View PostD. C. Sessions, on 16 June 2020 - 12:27 PM, said:

[1] Although it looks like decay bacteria are rapidly adapting to the "gift" we're providing. Especially the assorted pseudomonas ($HERSELF's favorite omnivores), which have, for instance, adapted to snarf PCBs in toxic waste that's been buried.

So they'll be feasting long after we've made the planet uninhabitable for ourselves? :D
" 'Individual conscience' means that women only get contraceptives if their employers, their physicians, their pharmacists, their husbands and/or fathers, pastors, and possibly their mayors, Governors, State Secretaries of Health, Congressmen, Senators, and President all agree that in that particular case they're justifiable." --D.C. Sessions

"That's the problem with being implacable foes - no one has any incentive to treat you as anything more than an obstacle to be overcome."

"The 'Road to Serfdom' is really all right turns." --Progressive Whisperer

""The GOP ... where every accusation is also a confession." --Progressive Whisperer

#5 D. C. Sessions

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Posted 16 June 2020 - 01:59 PM

View PostLFC, on 16 June 2020 - 12:55 PM, said:

So they'll be feasting long after we've made the planet uninhabitable for ourselves? :D

Given that they'll be here long after the planet has gotten too hot for most larger organisms (leaving out tube worms, anyway): of course.
The way a lot of catastrophes happen is that X doesn't occur because there are safeguards in place, therefore people assume X isn't a worry and they remove the safeguards. Then X happens.
— Nate Silver
"Robots aren't the problem. Capitalism is." -- Last words of Stephen Hawking.
These days, "libertarian" is just a euphemism for a Nazi who's afraid to commit.
"If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." -- Heather Heyer
"I'd rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta give her up, we're gonna make it count." -- Her mother
"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us. You will rule or ruin in all events." -- some RINO





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