Mt. Everest contains tiny particles of plastic pollution known as microplastic, a new study from the journal One Earth reports.
Microplastics of less than five millimeters were found in the snow and stream water on Mt. Everest, mainly near areas where humans have walked, according to the report. Microplastics are small plastic particles that come from larger trash breaking down, and because they’re so small, animals often consume them, according to USA Today.
“This creates a challenge and opportunity for manufacturers of performance clothing and equipment to develop designs that use more sustainable materials that are either natural or minimize shedding of microplastics,” the report states. “Climbers and trekkers should consider the full impact of exploration activities on the environment.”
The findings were based on snow samples collected by a 2019 National Geographic expedition, according to USA Today.
Imogen Napper, a lead author of the study who is a marine scientist and National Geographic explorer, said, “It really surprised me to find microplastics in every single snow sample I analyzed. Mount Everest is somewhere I have always considered remote and pristine,” according to USA Today. (RELATED: More Than 45 lbs Of Plastic Found In Pregnant Dead Whale Off Italian Coast)