2-minute read

Is it snowing microplastics in Siberia? Russia scientists take samples

Scientists are increasingly worried they may pose a risk to human health and marine life, though there is no consensus yet on the issue

Is it snowing microplastics in Siberia? Russia scientists take samples

Danil Vorobyov, Director of the Biological Institute at Tomsk State University, skis as he carries snow samples collected to investigate microplastic pollution levels in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Region, Russia February 21, 2021. Picture taken February 21, 2021. Siberian Microplastics centre of Tomsk State University (TSU)/Handout via REUTERS.

MOSCOW, March 19

Russian scientists are trying to understand the scale of a potential threat to the environment in Siberia: snow polluted with microplastics that then melts and seeps into the ground.

Scientists at Tomsk State University (TSU) say they have gathered snow samples from 20 different Siberian regions - from the Altai mountains to the Arctic - and that their preliminary findings confirm that airborne plastic fibres are turning up in snow in remote parts of the wilderness.

"It's clear that it's not just rivers and seas that are involved circulating microplastics around the world, but also soil, living creatures and even the atmosphere," Yulia Frank, scientific director at TSU's Microplastics Siberia centre, told Reuters.

Microplastics, which are created when bigger pieces of plastic litter break up over time, are increasingly being found in the air, food, drinking water and even Arctic ice. Scientists are increasingly worried they may pose a risk to human health and marine life, though there is no consensus yet on the issue.

Tomsk scientists have previously found microplastics in the digestive systems of fish caught in Siberian rivers, confirming that they are contributing to polluting the Arctic Ocean with plastic.

"Siberia is absolutely under-researched in this aspect and our (Russia's) interest in this problem comes late compared to the rest of the world," Frank said.

Scientists are now studying the snow samples to understand to what degree population density, the proximity of roads and other human activity contributes to the pollution. Reuters

 

Top Stories

Flying Sikh Milkha Singh dies of Covid complications at 91

Flying Sikh Milkha Singh dies of Covid complications at 91

The legendary Olympian turned critical late Friday evening a...

Milkha Singh: An unmatchable romance with a near miss

Milkha Singh: An unmatchable romance with a near miss

He became the first Indian athlete to win an individual gold...

Pre-poll bonanza for 5.4L govt employees; Punjab to implement 6th pay panel report

Pre-poll bonanza for 5.4L govt employees; Punjab to implement 6th pay panel report

With retrospective effect from January 1, 2016

Delhi High Court order granting bail to 3 student-activists booked under UAPA can't be treated as precedent: SC

Delhi High Court order granting bail to 3 student-activists booked under UAPA can't be treated as precedent: SC

Top court issues notice to Kalita, Narwal and Tanha; hearing...

Cities

View All