Microplastics found in fresh Antarctic snow for first time

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Microplastics found in fresh Antarctic snow for first time

  • Scientists have found microplastics in freshly fallen Antarctic snow for the first time
  • The findings, published recently in The Cryosphere journal, brought to light a serious threat to the Antarctic region.


  • These are small plastic particles in the environment that are generally smaller than 1 mm to the 1 micrometre range.
  • Microplastics can be formed by fragmentation of large plastic waste material.

Potential reasons behind the finding

  • Atmospheric modelling suggested microplastics may have travelled thousands of kilometres through the air
  • It is also likely that the presence of humans in Antarctica has established a microplastic 'footprint'

Impacts of Microplastics

  • Previous studies have found that microplastics have negative impacts on the health of the environment, limiting growth, reproduction, and general biological functions in organisms, as well as negative implications for humans.
  • It has the potential to influence the climate by accelerating melting of ice.

Exam track

Prelims takeaway

  • Microplastics
  • Geographical location of Antarctica
  • Nanomaterials