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Microplastic Contamination in Snow from Western Italian Alps

1
Department of Environmental Science and Policy, University of Milan, via Celoria 26, 20133 Milan, Italy
2
Department of Sciences and Technological Innovation, University of Piemonte Orientale, Via T. Michel 11, 15121 Alessandria, Italy
3
European Research Institute, via Pinelli 24/d, 10144 Torino, Italy
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Laboratorio Agenzia Regionale Protezione Ambiente della Valle d’Aosta Loc. La Maladière n. 48, Saint Christophe, 11020 Aosta, Italy
5
ERICA Soc. Coop., via Santa Margherita, 26, 12051 Cuneo, Italy
6
AICA International Association for Environmental Communication, 12051 Cuneo, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 768; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020768
Received: 21 December 2020 / Revised: 13 January 2021 / Accepted: 15 January 2021 / Published: 18 January 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microplastics in Terrestrial Ecosystems)
Recent studies have documented the presence of microplastics (MPs) in remote areas, including soils or sediments collected in mountain and glacier environments, but information on their presence in snow is scant. The present study aimed at exploring the presence of MPs in residual snow collected in four locations of the Aosta Valley (Western Italian Alps), with different accessibility and human presence. Overall, the µ-FTIR analyses confirmed the presence of 18 MPs in snow, 7 (39%) items were fibres, while 11 (61%) were fragments. Polyethylene (PE; 7 MPs) was the main polymer, followed by polyethylene terephthalate (PET; 3 MPs), high density PE (HDPE; 3 MPs), polyester (2 MPs), while only 1 MP made by low density PE, polypropylene and polyurethane were found. The mean (± SE) concentration of MPs in snow ranged between 0.39 ± 0.39 MPs/L and 4.91 ± 2.48 MPs/L, with a mean of 2.32 ± 0.96 MPs/L for the sampling locations. The concentration of MPs did not statistically differ among locations. Our results suggest that MPs presence in high-mountain ecosystems might depend on deposition through atmospheric precipitations or local sources due to human activities. For these reasons, policies aiming at reducing plastic use and dispersal in mountain areas may be effective in preventing local MP contamination. View Full-Text
Keywords: MPs; pollution; Aosta Valley; high-mountain; Italian Alps MPs; pollution; Aosta Valley; high-mountain; Italian Alps
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MDPI and ACS Style

Parolini, M.; Antonioli, D.; Borgogno, F.; Gibellino, M.C.; Fresta, J.; Albonico, C.; De Felice, B.; Canuto, S.; Concedi, D.; Romani, A.; Rosio, E.; Gianotti, V.; Laus, M.; Ambrosini, R.; Cavallo, R. Microplastic Contamination in Snow from Western Italian Alps. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 768. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020768

AMA Style

Parolini M, Antonioli D, Borgogno F, Gibellino MC, Fresta J, Albonico C, De Felice B, Canuto S, Concedi D, Romani A, Rosio E, Gianotti V, Laus M, Ambrosini R, Cavallo R. Microplastic Contamination in Snow from Western Italian Alps. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2021; 18(2):768. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020768

Chicago/Turabian Style

Parolini, Marco, Diego Antonioli, Franco Borgogno, Maria C. Gibellino, Jacopo Fresta, Carlo Albonico, Beatrice De Felice, Susanna Canuto, Donatella Concedi, Alessandra Romani, Emanuela Rosio, Valentina Gianotti, Michele Laus, Roberto Ambrosini, and Roberto Cavallo. 2021. "Microplastic Contamination in Snow from Western Italian Alps" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health 18, no. 2: 768. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020768

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