Posted by: Sandy Steinman | June 1, 2020

It Is Raining Plastic

Environment California reports  “It is raining plastic.”

That wasn’t the title that a group of U.S. Geological Survey scientists had in mind for their study when they started analyzing rainwater samples in the Rocky Mountains — they were there to study nitrogen pollution. But when they published their findings, it was the title that fit.1

Multicolored plastic particles, called microplastics, showed up in more than 90 percent of rainwater samples.2 And that was just in the Rockies. Other studies have found microplastics everywhere from the depths of the ocean, to the Bavarian Alps, to the remote reaches of the Arctic.3,4

Plastic pollution is everywhere, from the mountains to the ocean. Environment California is working to tackle this problem, and we need your help. Will you make a donation today?

More than 8 million tons of plastic get thrown away every year.5 But there’s really no such thing as “away.” Plastics never fully degrade — they just break down into particles that stay in our environment forever, harming wildlife around the world.

Marine wildlife are hit especially hard. Far too often, dead whales wash ashore with pounds and pounds of plastic in their stomachs. Research has found plastic in 43 percent of all marine mammal species, 44 percent of seabird species, and 86 percent of all sea turtle species.6

It’s nothing short of a plastic waste crisis. To solve it, the first step is to stop making it worse. It’s time to rethink our relationship with plastic, and we can start by ending our reliance on single-use plastic items we use for a few minutes and then throw away.

That’s why Environment California and our national network are campaigning for bans on single-use plastics here in California and around the country.

And we’re already seeing progress. A few years back, Environment California was instrumental in winning the nation’s first statewide ban on plastic bags. In 2019 alone, Maryland, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Oregon have all followed suit. Our network also helped pass bans on polystyrene foam in Maine and Maryland.

Will you make a donation today to help us tackle the plastic crisis in California and states across the country, and support our other vital environmental campaigns?

Thank you for making it all possible.


Dan Jacobson
State Director

1. Maanvi Singh, “It’s raining plastic: microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains,” The Guardian, August 13, 2019.
2. Maanvi Singh, “It’s raining plastic: microscopic fibers fall from the sky in Rocky Mountains,” The Guardian, August 13, 2019.
3. Damian Carrington, “Plastic pollution discovered at deepest point of ocean,” The Guardian, December 20, 2018.
4. Zamira Rahim, “Microplastics discovered in Arctic snow,” The Independent, August 18, 2019.
5. Trevor Nace, “Idyllic Caribbean Island Covered In A Tide Of Plastic Trash Along Coastline,” Forbes, October 27, 2017.
6. “Wildlife Over Waste,” Environment America, accessed August 21, 2019.

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