Last spring, we were unfortunately made aware that microplastics had made their way to the top of the Pyrennees mountains, and now we know that Colorado’s Rocky Mountains, one of the most spectacular natural places in the US, are also plagued with small fragments of plastic.
US Geologic Survey researcher Gregory Weatherbee was analyzing rainwater samples from seven areas between Boulder and Denver, in the Rocky Mountains, when he came upon a startling amount of microscopic plastic fibers.
“I think the most important result that we can share with the American public,” he said to The Guardian, “is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye. It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s part of our environment now.”
This unexpected discovery shows that not only those in urban centers are at risk of inhaling microplastics. While more research is needed to determine the exact risks for humans, studies show that plastic particles impair reproduction and damage the digestive tracts of various animal species.
It’s unclear right now how to prevent microplastics from spreading, or how they can be collected, but the simplest solution is to produce less plastic.