Microplastics discovered in 1730s lake deposits despite lack of plastic production

Microplastics in the Baltic: Challenging the Definition of the Anthropocene Era

In recent years, microplastics have become increasingly common in various parts of the world, with concerns about their impact on the environment and human health growing. The discovery of microplastics in Latvia has prompted scientists to reconsider how the new geological era, the Anthropocene, is defined. These tiny fragments of plastic have been found in a variety of places, including oceans, atmosphere, and even in isolated regions like Antarctica.

Microplastics were first discovered accumulating in the intestines of fish, but since then they have been detected in many other environments. They have even been found in our bodies and women’s placentas. While researchers are still trying to fully understand the extent of their dangers and how much is present in our bodies, evidence suggests that they can persist for centuries untouched by modern humans.

Recent studies in Latvia revealed that microplastics were present in lake sediments such as Seksu, Pinku, and Usmas. This discovery challenges previous assumptions about when the Anthropocene epoch began and suggests that small fragments of plastic can last for a very long time without human intervention.

The Anthropocene era was officially named by geologists as starting in the 1950s due to significant human impact on the environment. However, this discovery has raised questions about other indicators of this period, such as nuclear test isotopes. It remains to be seen whether microplastics will be included as an official indicator of the Anthropocene epoch by geologists at some point in the future.

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