Microplastic found in Iceland's remote and well-preserved glacier

This is the first time that microplastics have been discovered in the Vatnaekull glacier. The group visualized and

identified microplastic particles of various sizes and materials using optical microscopy and spectroscopy.

Microplastics are regularly examined in terms ofpollution of seas and oceans, not glaciers. To date, microplastic particles have been found in the Alps, the Andes and icebergs in Svalbard. Understanding the distribution of microplastics and its short-term and long-term impact on ice dynamics is vital, according to Dr. Hlynur Stefansson, Associate Professor of Engineering at RU and the first author of the article.

The data obtained confirm that microplastic particles are distributed throughout the atmosphere.

We don't understand the ways well enoughthe spread of microplastic particles in our environment. Is plastic carried over by snow and rain? Scientists now need to learn more about how it spreads. The samples we took were taken in a remote and unspoiled location on the Vatnajökull glacier. Direct human pollution is unlikely there, ”

Hlynur Stefansson, Associate Professor, Faculty of Engineering, RU

There is also much more to be known about the short and long term effects of microplastics on ice dynamics and its effect on melting.

Plastic particles decompose very slowly incold glacial environments: they can accumulate and be stored there for a very long time. However, sooner or later they will melt, which will lead to pollution of rivers and the marine environment. Therefore, it is very important to map and understand the presence and distribution of microplastics in glaciers on a global scale.

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