UK waterways are polluted by microplastics, a new study by Bangor University has discovered.
Considerable levels were discovered in the Thames, River Irwell in Greater Manchester and waterways in north Wales, while the River Tame has the highest quantity of plastic pollution in all tested areas worldwide; with more than 1,000 particles found per litre.
The worrying study also located plastics in areas as remote as Loch Lomond and the Falls of Dochart.
Growing research is showing that microplastic pollution is a global crisis. Tiny plastic particles have been found in the frozen wilderness of the Antarctic, in the stomachs of island birds and in subterranean water running beneath the US.
Microplastics in our water systems have detrimental effects on wildlife, environment and health; decreasing fertility and increasing the chance of cancer. It is thought we are ingesting micoplastics in our drinking water and through our seafood – both caught and farmed.
Julian Kirby, a plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, who assisted in the UK study said the government needs “to drastically reduce the flow of plastic pollution that’s blighting our environment”.