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Microplastics found in 'pristine' wilderness

Published: April 16, 2019
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Source: bbc.com

Scientists have found that a secluded region in the Pyrenees mountains - previously considered pristine wilderness - is covered with airborne microplastics.

A team from Strathclyde and Toulouse universities spent five months in the area, which straddles France and Spain.

They estimate that each day an average of 365 tiny plastic fragments or fibres settled on every square metre of land.

The nearest major city - Toulouse - is about 75 miles away.

Researchers collected samples from what they considered to be an uncontaminated area in south west France, about four miles from the nearest village.

Samples from monitoring devices were analysed to identify whether the tiny plastic pieces, invisible to the naked eye and less than five millimetres long, were present in the mountain range.

It is not known the distance microplastics can travel, but the paper, published in the Nature Geoscience journal, suggests fragments are regularly travelling distances of nearly 60 miles.

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