Paris (AFP/APP): Diplomats from 175 countries gathering in Paris for plastics treaty talks on Monday may want to pack an umbrella, but not just because there’s a chance of rain.
France’s capital will also be showered during the five-day talks by billions of microplastic particles falling from the sky, according to the first-ever plastics pollution weather forecast.
The predicted downpour will range between 40 and 48 kilogrammes (88 and 106 pounds) of free-floating plastic bits blanketing greater Paris every 24 hours, the scientists involved told AFP.
If the weather delivers heavy rain, the “plastic fall” is likely to increase up to tenfold.
“This should sharpen the focus of negotiators,” said Marcus Glover, head of plastics research at the Minderoo Foundation based in Perth, Australia.
“Plastic particles break down into the environment and this toxic cocktail ends up in our bodies, where it does unimaginable damage to our health.”
Concern over the impact of plastics on the environment and human well being has surged in recent years along with a crescendo of research documenting its omnipresence and persistence.
In nature, multi-coloured micro-plastics — by definition less than five millimeters (0.2 inches) in diameter — have been found in ice near the North Pole and inside fish navigating the oceans’ deepest, darkest recesses.
Plastic debris is estimated to kill more than a million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals each year, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, and filter-feeding blue whales consume up to 10 million pieces of microplastic every day.

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