Articles | Volume 16, issue 6
Research article
07 Jun 2022
Research article |  | 07 Jun 2022

First evidence of microplastics in Antarctic snow

Alex R. Aves, Laura E. Revell, Sally Gaw, Helena Ruffell, Alex Schuddeboom, Ngaire E. Wotherspoon, Michelle LaRue, and Adrian J. McDonald

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Cited articles

Absher, T. M., Ferreira, S. L., Kern, Y., Ferreira, A. L., Christo, S. W., and Ando, R. A.: Incidence and identification of microfibers in ocean waters in Admiralty Bay, Antarctica, Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res., 26, 292–298, 2019. a
Acharya, S., Rumi, S. S., Hu, Y., and Abidi, N.: Microfibers from synthetic textiles as a major source of microplastics in the environment: A review, Text. Res. J., 91, 2136–2156, 2021. a
Allen, S., Allen, D., Phoenix, V. R., Roux, G. L., Jiménez, P. D., Simonneau, A., Binet, S., and Galop, D.: Atmospheric transport and deposition of microplastics in a remote mountain catchment, Nat. Geosci., 12, 339–344,, 2019. a, b, c
Allen, S., Allen, D., Moss, K., Le Roux, G., Phoenix, V. R., and Sonke, J. E.: Examination of the ocean as a source for atmospheric microplastics, PloS one, 15, e0232746,, 2020. a, b
Ambrosini, R., Azzoni, R. S., Pittino, F., Diolaiuti, G., Franzetti, A., and Parolini, M.: First evidence of microplastic contamination in the supraglacial debris of an alpine glacier, Environ. Pollut., 253, 297–301, 2019. a, b
Short summary
This study confirms the presence of microplastics in Antarctic snow, highlighting the extent of plastic pollution globally. Fresh snow was collected from Ross Island, Antarctica, and subsequent analysis identified an average of 29 microplastic particles per litre of melted snow. The most likely source of these airborne microplastics is local scientific research stations; however, modelling shows their origin could have been up to 6000 km away.