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Media opportunity: Wind can carry microplastics to some of the most remote corners on Earth even faster than water, according to international team of researchers

Posted by Communications and Marketing on May 10, 2022 in News

Researchers from around the globe are calling for long-term monitoring of atmospheric microplastic to determine how much plastic is in the air after finding that wind can carry the particles to some of the most remote corners on Earth even faster than water.

In a new paper, scientists from Dalhouse University and other institutes estimate that up to 25 million metric tons of micro- and nanoplastic particles a year are transported thousands of kilometres by ocean air, snow, sea spray and fog, crossing countries, continents and oceans in the process.

The research, published Tuesday in Nature Reviews Earth & Environment, describes how plastic pollution is cycling into and out of the oceans and freshwater bodies. This means it can bounce its way across land and oceans, travelling from its point of origin to distant corners of the planet in a matter of days and much faster than by water alone.

The paper presents a strategy to monitor the atmospheric microplastic flux that could ultimately lead to more effective prevention and management of plastic pollution.

Steve Allen, an Ocean Frontier Institute researcher in Dalhousie’s Department of Earth Sciences and one of the lead authors of the report, is available to discuss the findings and the need to initiate a global microplastic observation network.


Media contact:
Alison Auld
Senior Research Reporter
Communications, Marketing and Creative Services
Dalhousie University
Cell: 1-902-220-0491


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