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Presence of Microplastics in Potable Water
By Bhavya Ankita

Microplastics consists a diversity of polymer types (e.g., poly-ethylene, polypropylene) and shapes (e.g., fragments, pellets, and fibers), which can have their sources from different areas. The formation of microplastics takes place by breaking down of larger particulate plastic by the process of photolysis, thermo-oxidation, thermo-degradation and also possibly by biodegradation.

The US based non-profit journalism outfit Orb sampled tap water from more than a dozen countries globally, and found than on an average 83% worldwide of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibers. Origin of these fibers is identified to shed off from the synthetic fabric in clothes dryers. However there can be more sources.

New Delhi (India) 82
Jakarta (Indonesia) 76
Kampala (Uganda) 81
Ecuador 75
USA 94
Europe 72
Lebanon 94

Results of the Research

Transportation of Plastic into Water :
  • Activities such as abrasion of clothes, upholstery and carpets produces these microscopic fibers and as we know our clothes are mostly made from polyester (a form of plastic) & have its fate into the water body through washing etc.
  • Also some plastic are released from vehicular tyres which again goes into sewers or to any other water bodies etc.
  • Artificial turf football field with ground tyre rubber (GTR) are used for cushioning. Microplastics from the same field, washed away by rain, found in nature close to a stream.

Threats Associated :
Chemicals from plastics are becoming a constant part of daily diet for the biotic consumers. Microplastics size ranges from 1 nanometer to < 5 mm. These plastic pieces are too tiny to be removed by water filtration systems; even homes served with Reverse Osmosis (RO) are not able to remove it.

And it becomes scarier when we come to know that Bottled Water is also reported with the presence of microplastics in it. Presently very little research has been conducted to know the health hazard associated with microplastics on the human health, however ingesting the stuff has been associated with behavioral changes and liver toxicity in the animals. Also high concentrations could cause physical harm to marine worms and microplastics could transfer along a simple food chain- such as from mussel to a crab.

Coming to the marine life, we can say that the poor marine animals or creature are getting highly affected due to the water body contamination from plastics. Since they don’t talk in human language so their pain are also not being heard. Many small animals could not breathe properly as very small or tiny plastic particles are stuck in the gills of those tiny creatures

For the solution, stringent action should be taken so that it does not enter into the water bodies. In addition to the above, any related strict laws & regulations should be imposed on the industries on the discharged pattern.


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Viewer: |   Last Updated: 05-01-2019