If you’re taking a deep breath in spots like Yellowstone or Utah, you’re going to get some fresh air along with microplastic. New data has shown that there are some 1,000 tons of microplastic floating through the air in the western US.
According to recent data published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, about 84% of microplastic in the air comes from the roads outside of major cities, not the growing footprint in those major cities. Microplastic comes from plastic bottles and bags that broke down into small bits and then released back into the environment.
Another source of microplastic is actually our washing machines. When we do a cycle, tiny microfibers flush down to the wastewater treatment plant, it’s turned into fertilizer and that soil is filled with microplastic. After that, a wastewater plant will flush it back into the ocean. This cycle has been going on for years which has accumulated more microplastic going into the ocean than coming out.
Over time, researchers are getting a clearer picture of how microplastic flows through our environment. But there still is a lot to figure out and scientists want to find out how microplastic is affecting every aspect of our planet.