Even Mount Everest, the World’s Tallest Peak, Can’t Escape Microplastics | Smart News

Two years ago, scientists reported that plastic pollution has found its way into the Mariana Trench, the darkest, deepest part of the ocean. Now, plastic has officially infiltrated the highest point above sea level: Mount Everest.

A study published November 20 in the journal One Earth reveals microplastics have been found up and down Mount Everest in staggering concentrations, reports Carolyn Wilke for Science News.

Last year, a team of 34 scientists embarked on an icy expedition up Mount Everest to better understand how climate change is affecting the highest point above sea level on Earth. (Mount Chimborazo in Ecuador is the furtherest point away from Earth’s core, and Mauna Kea is the tallest from base to peak.) As part of their research, they scooped up snow samples from various spots on the mountain and stored them in stainless steel jars to bring back to the lab for testing, reports

Read More

Microplastics found near Everest’s peak, highest ever detected in the world

For adventurers the world over, Mount Everest is an unforgettable sight—a regal plume of snow blows off its summit ridge as ice trails down its flank. But take a closer look at this stunning vista, as one team of climate scientists is doing, and you’ll start to notice the telltale signs of human impact from people both near and far.

Today, the surface of the ice at base camp in Nepal sits more than 150 feet lower than it did 35 years ago, the result of glacial melt from our steadily warming climate. Zones of high-altitude ice once thought safe from warming are now starting to dwindle. Even the snow itself isn’t quite so pristine. At 27,700 feet elevation, it is contaminated with microplastics—the highest yet found on the planet.

This is all according to a slew of new papers published this week in a special edition of the journal

Read More

There are microplastics near the top of Mount Everest too — ScienceDaily

Researchers analyzing snow and stream samples from the National Geographic and Rolex Perpetual Planet Everest Expedition have found evidence of microplastic pollution on Mount Everest. While the highest concentrations of microplastics were around Base Camp where hikers and trekkers spend the most time, the team also found microplastics as high up as 8,440 meters above sea level, just below the summit. The findings appear November 20 in the journal One Earth.

“Mount Everest has been described as ‘the world’s highest junkyard,'” says first author Imogen Napper, a National Geographic Explorer and scientist based at the University of Plymouth who is described by her colleagues as a “plastic detective.” “Microplastics haven’t been studied on the mountain before, but they’re generally just as persistent and typically more difficult to remove than larger items of debris.”

Microplastics — tiny particles of plastic that come from the slow breakdown of larger litter — pose

Read More

The root of microplastics in plants

The root of microplastics in plants
Micro- and nanoplastics were not absorbed by plant cells but did accumulate on the tips of roots, which could bode well for future cleanup of contaminated environments but not for root crops. Credit: Rose Perry | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Over the last decade, scientists have been scrambling to understand the impacts of microplastics. With the breakdown of plastic bottles, washing the world’s seven billion fleece jackets, or the microbeads in face cleansers, microplastics are piling up. How they affect living things like plants is still unclear.


In soil, plastics have the potential to cause problems at the chemical level. Like a magnetic attraction, contaminants can bind to plastics, resulting in toxic accumulation. Contaminants can also hitch a free ride on plastics and potentially make their way into plants. But first, researchers need to know if microplastics—or their even smaller offspring called nanoplastics—can get into plant cells in the first

Read More

High levels of microplastics released from infant feeding bottles during formula prep — ScienceDaily

New research shows that high levels of microplastics (MPs) are released from infant-feeding bottles (IFBs) during formula preparation. The research also indicates a strong relationship between heat and MP release, such that warmer liquids (formula or water used to sterilise bottles) result in far greater release of MPs.

In response, the researchers involved — from AMBER, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Materials and Bioengineering Research, TrinityHaus and the Schools of Engineering and Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin — have developed a set of recommendations for infant formula preparation when using plastic IFBs that minimise MP release.

Led by Dr Jing Jing Wang, Professor John Boland and Professor Liwen Xiao at Trinity, the team analysed the potential for release of MPs from polypropylene infant-feeding bottles (PP-IFBs) during formula preparation by following international guidelines. They also estimated the exposure of 12-month-old infants to MPs in 48 countries and regions and have

Read More