Plastic Rain Is the New Acid Rain

Plastic Rain Is the New Acid Rain

Researchers find that over 1,000 metric tons of microplastic fall on 11 protected areas in the US annually, equivalent to over 120 million plastic water bottles.

PHOTOGRAPH: GETTY IMAGES

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HOOF IT THROUGH the national parks of the western United States—Joshua Tree, the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon—and breathe deep the pristine air. These are unspoiled lands, collectively a great American conservation story. Yet an invisible menace is actually blowing through the air and falling via raindrops: Microplastic particles, tiny chunks (by definition, less than 5 millimeters long) of fragmented plastic bottles and microfibers that fray from clothes, all pollutants that get caught up in Earth’s atmospheric systems and deposited in the wilderness…