A bizarre new type of rock containing plastic has been found across the globe, formed mainly from plastic we have created and discarded.
This deposit is a combination of rock and plastic polymers from human waste that have been compressed together.
Plastic rocks have been found both on the coast and inland in 11 countries across 5 continents so far.
They illustrate the extent of plastic pollution throughout the world, with one researcher telling Newsweek the rocks pose an imminent danger to ocean sustainability and ultimately to human health.
There is some disagreement among the scientific community as to what to call these deposits, with various terms proposed—some of which describe plastic rocks formed in specific ways.
Among the myriad terms are “plastistone,” “plastiglomerate,” “plasticrust,” “plastitar,” “plastisandstone” and “anthropoquinas.”
The first example of a plastic rock was reported in Hawaii by geologist Patricia Corcoran nearly 10 years ago—and termed a “plastiglomerate.”
“Molten plastic, sand grains, clasts from rock, coral, shells, and wood debris were held together after campfire burning on Kamilo Beach, Hawaii, USA,” Deyi Hou, author of a recent paper that explored the formation and extent of what it calls plastistones, and associate professor of environment at Tsinghua University in China, told Newsweek.
He added: “Since then, they have been frequently found on beaches, both on islands and mainland coastlines.
Read more: newsweek.com