"Dartmouth scientist Rachel Obbard was looking at samples of Arctic sea ice for small organisms when something else caught her eye: Tiny, bright-colored bits and pieces and miniature string-like objects that did not seem to belong.
Those small specks turned out to be a type of pollution known as microplastics. Their presence in sea ice collected from the central Arctic Ocean showed that some of the vast quantities of garbage and pollution floating in the world's seas has traveled to the northernmost waters.
For Obbard, an assistant engineering professor who specializes in polar-ice studies, the appearance of microplastics in Arctic sea ice was an unpleasant surprise. 'I was kind of shocked. I said, 'This shouldn’t be here in such a remote place,'' she said."