In November 2020, scientists discovered micro-plastics on Mount Everest, the highest mountain above sea level. This plastic pollution in the far corners of the Earth is devastating, we dig into how it ended up there and the opportunities this brings.
2020 has not been kind to us, and this bit of news is another warning that we need to make changes now. Scientists have discovered Microplastics near the summit of Mount Everest.
Yes. You read that right. The highest geographical point on earth, surrounded by the most hostile of weather conditions, is the latest corner of the world to report plastic pollution.
What exactly did the scientists find?
The composition in the samples featured mainly polyester, with other fragments of acrylic, nylon and polypropylene, mainly from clothing and camping gear of those who hike the trail. 19 tests were conducted from the base of the mountain to the final rest stop before the summit, and all returned with evidence of contamination. The tests conducted lower down the mountain returned higher concentration of microplastics, highlighting a direct correlation between tourists and pollution.
The dangers in this lie in the fact that the mountain water runs off into freshwater streams, where ecosystems flourish. Freshwater was thought to be less likely to be contaminated by human activity, especially in areas as remote as the Himalayas, but this finding proves that assumption wrong.
Earlier in the year, scientists discovered tiny plastic fragments in samples of Antarctic ice, collected in 2009.
While it is unfortunate that the spread of micro plastics continues, it helps us as humans and consumers to understand how our actions affect our environment, especially when we may not notice we are doing it, and do better.
So how can we help reduce plastic pollution?
There is a great opportunity for outdoor clothing companies to develop & use materials that are more friendly to the planet.
And as consumers we can consume more responsibly, investing in high quality, sustainable, products and brands that prioritise the environment is a powerful step to take.
Read more on the Mount Everest report here