Microplastic

Earth can’t escape this one type of pollution

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It’s easy to see plastic pollution in the form of sea turtles eating plastic bags or a soda bottle floating down a river.

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But much of Earth’s plastic pollution is invisible to us. These are microplastics: Pieces of plastic less than 5 millimeters long.

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And it’s hard to find a corner of the planet without them.

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Imogen Napper/National Geographic

Scientists recently found tiny plastic fibers just below the summit of Mount Everest, one of Earth’s tallest and most-inaccessible mountains. The findings were published in the journal One Earth.

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Here are 5 more unexpected places scientists have found microplastics.

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In a remote, high-altitude lake in the Pyrenees mountains in southern France, scientists found sand-grain-sized plastics and tiny plastic fibers.

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In the stomachs of baby fish. Scientists found microplastics inside larval swordfish, mahi mahi, and more.Jonathan Whitney, NOAA Fisheries

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In our bodies. In a 2018 study, researchers found microplastics accumulating in human waste.

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Read more science and nature stories here.

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