“According to a new study, scientists have discovered traces of microplastics and hazardous chemicals in the remotest parts of the Antarctic. The report published by Greenpeace details the findings of a research expedition initiated by the organisation in 2018 [pdf, p3]. The findings show that even the remotest parts of the globe are showing signs of influence from pollution and waste.

No escape from plastics

The presence of plastic waste in the Antarctic is nothing new. In 2010, scientists reported [pdf, p7] large pieces of plastic in the Antarctic Ocean. But this is the first reported sighting of microplastics. The researchers gathered numerous samples. Seven out of eight water samples taken at the sites contained detectable amounts of microplastics.

In addition to the aforementioned microplastics, they also discovered polyfluorinated alkylated substances (PFAS) in snow samples. PFAS are chemicals used in industrial processes and found in consumer products…

The presence of PFAS is also alarming. PFAS are almost imperceptible to the naked eye and can easily find their way into the food chain. Some research [pdf, p6] has suggested that they can cause reproduction problems, cancerous growths, and hormonal problems in animals.”

Read the full article by James Aitchison