According to a paper published in the journal Environment International at the end of the year, the first of its kind, deposition rates in London are almost seven times greater than in Paris. Levels were also higher than Dongguan (a Chinese industrial city of similar population to London) and Hamburg.
The researchers used a funnelled rain gauge to collect dust falling out of the atmosphere in central London during the winter of 2018. Samples were later filtered and their composition analysed – with microplastics found to be present in every one. Weather and meteorological patterns had little impact on their abundance, with local sources having a far greater influence than long-distance transport.