Imagine 120 million plastic water bottles falling from the sky and littering your favorite national parks in the West. A gross image, to be sure, but that’s what researchers looking for microplastics found in 14 months’ worth of air and rainwater samples collected in 11 protected areas in the West — 1,000 metric tons of plastic particles, equivalent to 120 million water bottles. “We just did that for the area of protected areas in the West, which is only 6 percent of the total US area. The number was just so large, it’s shocking.”




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