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The Brief: High levels of microplastics found in Arctic snow

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The Brief: High levels of microplastics found in Arctic snow
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It is regarded as one of the last pristine environments on earth, but now microplastics have even been found in the Arctic.

Scientists say these tiny particles could be airborne across vast distances - raising concerns over the potential risk to both human and animal health.

Dr Melanie Bergmann, a lead scientist at the Alfred Wegener Institute, understands the risks involved.

"For some species, for example, muscles we know of inflammation responses in them, some worms suffer lower growth rate or lower reproduction rate. Other species suffer from increased mortality.

"Then, there are also some species that don't seem to show any response, at least not at the level we're looking at. Nevertheless, we should really be thinking about reducing our plastic consumption because we do see effects."

Researchers say they were shocked by the scale of pollutants found in the Northwest Passage. Almost 10,000 particles per litre.

Their haul included fragments of rubber tyres, varnish, paint and possibly synthetic fibres.

It appears to be further evidence of humanity's ever-encroaching impact on once unblemished landscapes.