The scourge of microplastic pollution on Arctic beaches has been exposed by citizen scientists in the form of tourists.
Tourists visiting the remote Svalbard archipelago have brought back data and samples that show the extent of microplastic pollution in the Arctic.
The work was published in Frontiers in Environmental Science and is the work of Dr. Bruno Walther, who is associated with the Alfred Wegener Institute at the Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research.
Sadly, the cruises did not just detect the presence of microplastics but also large plastic debris ranging in size from 1 inch/2.5cm to 4 inches/10cm. Although, as the researchers have pointed out, previous work has shown that the bulk (80%) of microplastics are small (less than 1 cm). That indicates that the problem in the Arctic may be more significant than we think.
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