Microplastics’ shape determines how far they travel in the atmosphere

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Atmospheric pollution includes microplastics. A team of researchers from Cornell University have determined that the shape of microplastics play a key role in how they travel. Using a model to simulate the atmospheric transportation of microplastic fibers has shown that common flat fibers travel farther in the lower atmosphere than spherical shaped fibers.

“We can now more accurately attribute the sources of microplastic particles that will eventually be transported to the air,” lead author Qi Li said. “If you know where they’re coming from, then you can come up with a better management plan and policies or regulations to reduce plastic waste. This could also have implications for any heavy particles that are transported in the lower atmosphere, like dust and pollen.”

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