Scientists discover the first rocks fused with human-made plastic

A team of researchers published a new study detailing the first discovery of rocks combined with human-made plastics across multiple countries.

1 minute & 55 seconds read time

A group of researchers have identified and detailed a new type of rock that contains manmade plastic, with the new paper explaining this type of rock was discovered in several different countries, indicating a global issue.

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The new study was published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology and details the discovery of rocks that contain artificial plastic polymers. These rocks were discovered along shorelines and inland across 11 different countries that are spread around the globe.

Co-author of the study, Deyi Hou, an associate professor of environment at Tsinghua University in China, spoke to Newsweek and said that the recent study was the "first to report the discovery of plastistones in the inland region and the first to report the chemical bonding between plastic and rock." So, how do they form? Plastistones form through a variety of different processes, some are from campfires on the beach that contained molten plastic that is then fused to sand granules, shells, wood debris, etc.

Another process is waves crashing against rocks on the shoreline, which causes the plastic in the ocean to "become physically adhered to the rock surface," according to Hou. The researchers suspect that sunlight exposure plays a part in the binding process.

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"Plastiglomerate poses an imminent danger to ocean sustainability, blue economy and overall human health," Hou told Newsweek.

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