Plastic snowfall in the Alps

2Feb 2022.


The researchers from Austria, Netherlands and Switzerland have found that trillions of plastic particles fall along with snow in Switzerland. These particles travel 2000 kilometres through air.

Key findings of  study:

  • About 43 trillion plastic particle land in Alps of Switzerland.
  • They fall along with the snow.
  • They are carried by wind.
  •  It has been found that around 3,000 tonnes of Nano plastics get deposited in Swiss soil every year.
  • The spread of the Nano plastics is still unexplored.
  • This study is believed to be the most accurate study of plastics.
  •  This is mainly because of the methodology adopted by the scientists.
  • The scientists gathered the top layer of snow every morning in the Hoher Sonnenblick mountain of Alps.
  • The collected snow was stored with greatest care.
  • The snow was analysed for the presence of plastic nano particles.
  •  The source of the Nano particles was traced.

Key observations of the study

  • 30% of the plastic Nano particles found in the mountain top originated from 200 km.
  • Some plastics from ocean also get in to the air and reach the Alps.
  •  10% of the plastic Nano plastics were from Atlantic ocean.

Nano plastics in human blood

  • The world has so far produced 8300 million tonnes of plastics.
  • Of this 60% are now waste.
  • The waste is eroded by mechanical abrasion, weathering effects.
  •  Nano plastics are released from clothing and every day plastics used in packaging.
  • The size of Nano plastics is too tiny.
  •  They move like gases in air.
  • They enter into human blood stream through respiration.
  •  On the other hand, the micro plastics only get deposited in stomach.
  • They do not enter the blood stream.
  •  Thus Nano plastics are more dangerous.

What are Nano plastics?

  • Nano plastics are plastic particles whose size is less than or equal to 100 Nano meter in length.
  • Micro plastics are those plastic particles whose size is less than 5 milli meter.
  • These particles have invaded the entire terrestrial and marine environment.

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