‘Plastic waste is melting into rocks’

Geologists have found rocks to be intertwined with plastic waste on an island – but no humans live there

Big Zero Show 2023

Plastic waste is forming rocks.

Geologists in a remote Brazilian island made the discovery, claiming that over years plastic has become interlocked with rocks – highlighting a different way that plastic is impacting Earth.

Trindade Island is a protected area for turtles to lay their eggs – but the findings have worried the scientists that plastic is now interwoven into geological cycles.

“Pollution has reached geology. The garbage in the sea and the plastic dumped incorrectly in the oceans is becoming geological material, preserved in the Earth’s geological records,” said Fernanda Avelar Santos, a geologist who helped make the discovery.

The worry is based on the fact that Trindade Island has been almost entirely untouched by humanity, with no person ever settling there – yet, plastic waste has still found its way into its makeup.

Fishing nets have brought the majority of the waste to the island, Mr Santos added – after they are dragged around by currents in the ocean and then washed up on the beach.

He added: “When the temperature rises, this plastic melts and becomes embedded with the beach’s natural material.”

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