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New Study Suggests That Microplastics Are Abundant in the Air

A new study from the Helmholtz Center for Polar and Marine Research, a division of the Alfred Wegener Institute, has revealed information about microplastics in the atmosphere that could have significant effects on human health. It is estimated that by 2040, more than 88 million metric tons of plastic pollution will be added to the earth’s atmosphere and oceans annuallyThis study suggests that microplastics can travel faster now than ever before because they can move in the earth’s wind currents. According to co-author Melanie Bergmann, Ph.D., “Micro- and nanoplastic can much more quickly penetrate those regions of our planet that are most remote,” due to the fact that air is a more dynamic and thinner medium than water.

A recently published British study found microplastics in the lungs of 11 out of 13 humans, stressing the importance of adding plastic as a factor in air-monitoring programs. The study reinforces environmentalists’ stance that plastic pollution must be reduced to improve human health and prevent future health implications. 

Coastal Steward Long Island, a Mount Sinai nonprofit, is one of the many organizations worldwide trying to reduce plastic pollution through community outreach. According to their website, they are dedicated to “restoring and preserving Long Island’s coastline through education, raising public awareness, and community action.” CSLI encourages the public to participate in beach cleanups, citizen science and shellfish population restoration, to create a connection between residents and the environment. 

To learn more about the Alfred Wegener Institute study, visit To learn about CSLI, visit Visit the Alfred Wegener Institute’s website,

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