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Research led by Cardiff University's School of Biosciences has revealed that microplastics are widespread in insects from South Wales rivers.
Microplastic fragments—pieces of plastic debris under five millimetres—were found to have been ingested by one in every two insects, and at all the sites sampled.
UK - Study - Microplastics - River - Insects
This first UK study of microplastics in river insects investigated three different kinds of mayfly and caddis larvae and found that all contained plastic material irrespective of their feeding methods.
Fred Windsor, Ph.D. Student at Cardiff University, said: "Every year, between eight and twelve million tonnes of plastics are thought to be entering the World's oceans, but around four million tonnes of it passes along rivers. In some cases, there can be over half a million plastic fragments per square metre of river bed, so that ingestion by insects is very likely.
Study - Insects - Downstream - Sewage - Treatment
"In our study, we sampled insects upstream and downstream from sewage treatment works on the River Taff, River Usk and the River Wye, and found plastics were surprisingly widespread."
The research showed that whilst plastics were found in higher concentrations where wastewater contributed more to river flow, plastics occurred both upstream and downstream of sewage outfalls – indicating that microplastics were entering rivers from widespread sources.
Professor - Steve - Ormerod - Co-Director - Cardiff
Professor Steve Ormerod, Co-Director of Cardiff University's Water Research Institute added: "Urban rivers in the UK have been recovering from decades of gross...
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