Study: No place is safe: Tiny bit of plastic pollute the snow, streams on iconic Mount Everest

Environmental Health News discusses No place is safe: Tiny bit of plastic pollute the snow, streams on iconic Mount Everest. “No one had ever looked at microplastics on Everest before—the scary thing is we found microplastic in every single snow sample that we took.”

Scientists have found microplastics hidden in the snow and streams on the famous climber’s mecca, Mount Everest, adding to the concerning body of evidence that no place on the planet is free from these microscopic pollutants.

New analysis of 19 snow and stream water samples collected from the world’s highest mountain—standing at 29,029 feet and located at the China-Nepal border— showed the presence of microplastics in every snow sample from five locations, and in three out of eight stream water samples from six locations. The concentrations of microplastics ranged from three to 119 microplastics per liter of snow and zero to two microplastics per liter of stream water.

The research, funded by the National Geographic Society and Rolex and published today in the journal One Earth, is the first to document the presence of microplastics in snow and stream water on Mount Everest, the iconic peak famously first summitted by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953 and which was recently cleared of 24,000 pounds of trash.

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