Beijing: A team of scientists has identified the presence of microplastics in high-altitude clouds in China in their new research.
A team of scientists has discovered these microplastic particles in the clouds over Mount Tay, a world heritage site, and suggests that microplastics could affect the world’s climate.
Scientists are concerned that these particles in clouds help the process of cloud formation and enable them to hold metals released from industrial pollution.
Microplastics are plastic particles that are smaller than five millimeters, but most of the particles in the study (about 60 percent) were smaller than 100 micrometers.
There are 1000 micrometers in a millimeter. Although these may sound small, the right amount of them can cause extreme effects.
The team of researchers collected cloud water samples from the highest point of the mountain (about 1.5 km above sea level). These were examined through a microscope with a spectrometer to determine the chemical composition of the clouds.
Microplastic particles were found in 24 out of 28 samples taken from clouds, and the amount increased the closer to sea level and where the clouds were denser.
Sunlight and other weathering factors can break down microplastics into even smaller particles, the scientists said. Therefore, it is possible that these ‘nanoplastics’ particles have not come into their eyes.