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Visiting Paris? You may want to bring an umbrella for an unusual reason. For the first time ever, a plastic pollution weather forecast predicts that billions of microplastic particles will descend upon France’s capital, with 40 to 48 kilograms (88 to 106 pounds) of these insidious pollutants blanketing the city every day.
These startling figures come from the Minderoo Foundation, an Australian research institute. If heavy rain hits the city, the quantity of microplastic “falling from the sky” could increase tenfold. Marcus Gover, head of plastics research at the Minderoo Foundation, hopes these findings will serve as a wakeup call, highlighting the damage these tiny plastic particles can inflict on our health and the environment.
Microplastics, defined as particles less than 5mm in diameter, are ubiquitous, found from the North Pole’s icy reaches to the ocean’s darkest depths. Alarmingly, the United Nations Environment Program estimates that plastic debris kills over a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals annually. Blue whales, the largest animals on our planet, consume up to 10 million pieces of microplastic every day.
Humans aren’t exempt from this widespread Pollution, with microplastics detected in blood, breast milk, and even placentas. Despite a lack of comprehensive data on their human impact, animal tests have linked chemicals in microplastics to increased risks of cancer, reproductive problems, and DNA mutations.
The Minderoo Foundation’s method for predicting plastic precipitation isn’t real-time but is instead based on lab analysis of samples collected in Paris from 2015 onwards. These studies revealed that the majority of plastic particles were nylon and polyester, likely originating from clothing, with others shed by vehicle tires.
With 175 nations agreeing last year to develop a treaty aimed at curbing plastic Pollution by 2024, the forecast for Paris could further emphasize the urgency of this global crisis.
If you’re concerned about plastic pollution, join the fight against it. Advocate for policies such as single-use plastic bans, “polluter pays” schemes, and taxes on new plastic production. Remember, every choice counts when it comes to sustainability. Take steps towards a plastic-free lifestyle and spread awareness in your communities. The planet needs us, now more than ever.
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- Whales Consume Three Million Microplastics Per Day, New Study Finds
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- Do What You Can: Reduce waste, plant trees, eat local, travel responsibly, reuse stuff, say no to single-use plastics, recycle, vote smart, switch to cold water laundry, divest from fossil fuels, save water, shop wisely, Donate if you can, grow your food, volunteer, conserve energy, compost, and don’t forget about the microplastics and microbeads lurking in common household and personal care products!