Researchers in Japan have claimed they have discovered the presence of microplastics in clouds. These small particles of plastic are believed to be affecting the climate in ways that scientists still do not fully understand.

According to Al Jazeera’s report, a study published in the journal ‘Environmental Chemistry Letters’ details that Japanses scientists researched the collection of water from the fog covering Mount Fuji and Mount Aoyama.

The research team found nine different types of polymers and one type of rubber in the samples, with particles ranging in size from 7.1 to 94.6 micrometers.

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The amount of plastic particles found in each liter (0.26 gallon) of cloud water ranged from 6.7 to 13.9.

Lead author of the study from Waseda University, Hiroshi Okuchi, has warned that if the issue is not taken into account, climate change and environmental threats could cause serious environmental damage in the future.

What is microplastic?
Microplastics are small plastic particles measuring less than 5 mm which come from industrial waste, textiles, synthetic car tires, and similar products.

These microplastics have also been found inside fish in the Arctic Ocean and in frozen snow in the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain.

In the research report, the author said that “according to our knowledge, this is the first report of the presence of microplastics in clouds.”

Researchers have stated that humans and animals are ingesting and/or inhaling microplastics, and these small particles of plastic have been found in various human organs, including the lungs, heart, blood and faeces.

One million tonnes of tiny plastic particles accumulate in the ocean which are often released into the air and then into the atmosphere. Hence, microplastics have also seemingly become an integral part of clouds, potentially contaminating several things including our food and drink.

Recent findings also show that microplastics are linked to health problems, including effects on heart and lung, as well as cancer.