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What 'Chemtrails' Actually Are And Why There's A Conspiracy Theory Around Them

What 'Chemtrails' Actually Are And Why There's A Conspiracy Theory Around Them

Have you ever wondered what those huge trails that appear to be coming out the back of planes are?

If you've ever been out on a clear day, looked up in the sky and wondered what those huge trails that appear to be coming out the back of planes are, you're not alone.

Perhaps one of your more garrulous mates has even talked at length about them, telling you with much conviction they're part of some sinister state of affairs the government doesn't want you to know about.

You'll no doubt have seen them, and even if you've never questioned them, I bet you're wondering now what they actually are – fumes from a plane's engine? Steam? Really long, thin clouds dragged out by planes flying through them?

What are 'chemtrails' exactly?

Or, if you're someone more inclined towards the conspiracies in life, you might think they're chemicals being released into the air above us in some sort of population control experiment.

In reality, the plumes of white mist – officially known as contrails or vapour trails, rather than the relatively recent nickname of 'chemtrails' – are created when water vapour mixes with fine soot, released by the burning of jet fuel. This mixture freezes and forms ice crystals and, depending on the altitude at which they're created, either dissipate quickly or linger for a while in the sky. This is why it only looks as if some planes create them, while others don't.

The conspiracy theory – that the government is using chemtrails to spray chemicals on the population – seems to have come about in the late 1990s, BBC News reports, after some people suggested a concoction was being released in the atmosphere to as a way to control or reduce population levels.

They're not as sinister as some people might think.

More recently, however, some theorists believed chemtrails were being used to spread Covid-19 – or, on the flip side, the vaccine for it – while others seemed happy to stick with the old classic, mind control/new world order malarkey.

Others even saw the recent heatwave as an opportunity to spread more theories about chemtrails, suggesting the trails were used to trap heat and push temperatures up, though the the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) told the BBC there is 'no evidential basis' for such theories.

"The distraction of these false theories detracts from what really matters and from areas that we believe should be further studied," it added.

Of course, it's no secret that the aviation industry does still have an affect on our climate, and the BALPA is campaigning for further research into the effect it has on pollution, as well as the effect contrails – not chemtrails – have on the climate.

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Environment, Conspiracy Theories