Microplastics on Beaches Now Recorded at Insane Levels
More attention is finally being given to determining the ill effects that microplastics (microbeads) are having on human health and the environment. Previous concerns have been raised in everything from toothpaste to beer to the wider ecosystem where it was found to threaten juvenile fish that were becoming addicted to them.
Perhaps even worse is that “an investigation by Orb Media revealed that microplastics were present in 83 percent of drinking water samples. The study encompassed more than a dozen countries, including the U.S., the U.K., France, Germany, Lebanon, Indonesia, Equator, and India.” (Source)
In a startling case of “the more you seek, the more you find,” a new study orchestrated by a bachelor student and her supervisor from the Leiden University, the Netherlands, along with help from citizen investigators, began collecting samples of European beach sand. It turns out that plastic particles abound in outlandish concentrations right under our feet as we walk among apparently clean and beautiful sand:
They found that every kilogram of sand on European beaches contained on average 250 fragments of microplastic. In some locations the number can be even higher, a spot in Iceland had 700 microplastics per kilogram, in Italy it was as high as 1,500 per kilogram. Bosker has already found relatively high levels in the Netherlands, with 500 fragments per kilo on the beach near to The Hague.
While their findings varied, they found microplastics in every sample taken from 23 locations in 13 European countries.
‘If you fill an espresso cup with sand, it will contain easily twentyfive pieces of plastic, with the number of fragments changing according to the location.’
The researchers have taken steps to standardize their collection process so that even more help can be solicited from the public. In subsequent studies they will be looking at other regions of the world, as well as determining the true nature of the impact that living among pervasive plastic might have on human health and the environment.
You can visit the University website and contact Professor Thijs Bosker if you’d like to inquire about how you can help contribute to this important scientific investigation.
Source: “Plastic Between Your Toes”
Jason Erickson writes for NaturalBlaze.com. This article (Microplastics on European Beaches Recorded at Insane Levels) may be republished in part or in full with author attribution and source link.
Top image credit: Pixabay