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The natural world lost: plastic rocks that scared scientists have been found on all five continents

Dmytro IvancheskulNews
Plastic stones have appeared everywhere people live. Source: Phys/OBOZ.UA collage

Strange new rocks containing elements of man-made plastic have been discovered on all five continents inhabited by humans. This indicates that plastic pollution has completely penetrated the "natural" world.

This is stated in a study in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. Rocks containing artificial plastic polymers have been found along coastlines and inland in 11 countries.

For the first time, such plastic rocks were found on a beach in Hawaii almost 10 years ago.

"The molten plastic, grains of sand, rock fragments, coral, shells, and wooden fragments were stuck together after a bonfire on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, USA," said Deyi Hou, an associate professor of ecology at Tsinghua University in China and co-author of the study.

One of the found plastic stones.

Subsequently, these new "stones began to be found on beaches, both on the islands and on the mainland coast.

The new study, as Howe notes, is the first to "report the discovery of plastistones in an inland region, and the first to report a chemical bond between plastic and rock."

As for the process by which these new rocks are formed, Hou suggests that it is not just that plastic waste melts in a fire and, when it cools down, combines with natural components. Another reason for the appearance of such "rocks" is that plastic is washed out of the sea by waves and physically adheres to the rocks on which the waves crash.

As for the chemical bonding of plastic and natural components that scientists have seen, it may be the result of sun exposure that oxidizes the plastic.

While plastic rocks may not sound too alarming, scientists warn that this could have global implications. For example, all this plastic can reduce microbial diversity and lead to the formation of microplastics, which can eventually enter human and animal bodies.

Stones with plastic formed naturally.

Scientists are convinced that this is an alarming trend that does not bode well for the future of natural ecosystems around the world.

"Plastiglomerate poses an imminent danger to ocean sustainability, the blue economy, and overall human health," Hou summarized.

Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that plastic stones were found on a remote island with almost no people.

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