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AFP
July 15, 2020

Road traffic microplastics flooding world’s oceans: study

World

AFP
July 15, 2020

PARIS: Airborne microplastics from traffic pollution may be entering the world´s oceans at a similar rate to that from rivers, according to new research Tuesday warning that the particles may also speed up Arctic ice melt. As global plastic production continues to surge, the study is the first attempt at quantifying how much plastic from road vehicle tyres and brake pads is dispersed and deposited by air currents. Microplastics — tiny particles produced when larger plastic chunks break down as well as microfibres from clothes and other materials — have been found atop some of Earth´s highest glaciers and at the bottom of its deepest trenches. Researchers in Norway and Austria took data on how much microplastic is produced by road transport and combined them with simulations of where they might be transported on wind currents. They found that around a third of all road microplastic — roughly 50,000 tonnes — end up in the world´s oceans every year.