Aeroplane-mounted real-time micro-plastic detectors
Recent research has discovered airborne micro-plastic particles in clouds, and it is theorized that these particles may influence cloud formation and precipitation by providing nucleation sites for condensation. With the rapidly rising levels of plastic pollution and micro-plastics in particular, this phenomenon may begin to affect rainfall patterns, resulting in aberrant weather and potentially affecting the accuracy of weather models. It is therefore imperative that we start to develop the means to systematically measure atmospheric levels of airborne micro-plastics in order to adapt our weather models to factor them into predictions, and to provide the data needed for those models. The most viable means of doing this would be the development of a real-time micro-plastic detectors that can be mounted on aeroplanes, which already carry weather instrumentation and play a key role in providing the data for forecasts. Real-time detectors for water-borne micro-plastics have recently been developed, and there is now an urgent need to begin work on equivalent technology for airborne particles.