After analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, the U.S. Interior Department recently released a study concluding that microscopic plastic fibers have contaminated the air, soil, water, and even rainfall. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, plastic was found in over 90 percent of samples taken.
In a recent report titled “It Is Raining Plastic,” the U.S. Geological Survey reported, “Atmospheric wet deposition samples were collected using the National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) at eight sites in the Colorado Front Range. Plastics were identified in more than 90 percent of the samples.”
The study continued, “Plastic particles such as beads and shards were also observed with magnification. More plastic fibers were observed in samples from urban sites than from remote, mountainous sites. However, frequent observation of plastic fibers in washout samples from the remote site CO98 at Loch Vale in Rocky Mountain National Park (elevation 3,159 meters) suggests that wet deposition of plastic is ubiquitous and not just an urban condition.”
“I think the most important result that we can share with the American public is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye,” U.S. Geological Survey researcher Gregory Wetherbee told The Guardian. “It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s a part of our environment now.”
Last year, Scientific Reports published their results which concluded that ocean plastic pollution within the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP), located between California and Hawaii, is increasing exponentially and at a faster rate than in surrounding waters. Considered at least twice the size of Texas, the GPGP is also more than three times the size of continental France.
“Even if we waved a magic wand and stopped using plastic, it’s unclear how long plastic would continue to circulate through our rivers waters systems,” Stefan Krause at the University of Birmingham recently told The Guardian. “Based on what we do know about plastic found in deep sources of groundwater, and accumulated in rivers, I would guess centuries.”
The U.S. Geological Survey’s report concluded, “It is raining plastic. Better methods for sampling, identification, and quantification of plastic deposition along with assessment of potential ecological effects are needed.”
In other words, the U.S. Interior Department has discovered that we are rapidly polluting our environment and own bodies with microplastics at a hazardous rate with no end in sight.