The world has been grappling with the problem of plastic pollution for the past century. Intensive studies have been conducted by scientists for many years attempting to establish the effects of these plastics. The most profound effects have been those on the environment which range from the creation of ugly landfills to infiltration of plastics in the earth which alter the soil structure. These plastics have also been traced to the oceans and lakes where microscopic plastic fibers have infiltrated into millions of aquatic organisms.
Plastic Found In Samples From Across the World
Now people around the world have a new reason to panic after scientists established the presence of plastic fibers in tap water. This revelation was brought to light after Orb Media recently published a report which showed that tap water was laden with microplastic fibers with contamination levels being as high as 94%. Orb Media has conducted a study where researchers took 150 tap water samples from cities in several countries in all continents of the world excluding Oceania, which was then analyzed to establish many microscopic plastic fibers. These cities were Kampala, Beirut, Jakarta, New Delhi, Los Angeles, Quito, and New York. The analysis established a uniform pattern in all the collected samples which were all contaminated by microscopic plastic fibers with an average contamination level of 83%.
United States Had Highest Samples, Europe Had Lowest
The contamination levels were highest in the United States where contamination levels reached highs of 94%. The lowest contamination levels were found in samples from Europe which were still quite high at 72%. The reason behind Europe’s relatively low contamination levels was the existing legislation which requires tap water to have zero contaminants. The lack of such legislation and the absence of a safety standard for tap water in the US is attributed to the high contamination levels in the country. The source of the microscopic plastic fibers present in tap water is yet to be accurately known, but scientists point synthetic material as the most probable source.
The report came as a surprise to many people who had the notion that tap water was safest to consume. The safety in consuming the plastic-laden water is yet to be conclusively studied but people will have another thing to worry about while taking tap water. Richard Thompson, a researcher at Plymouth University, told DW that the effects of plastics on animals have been studied and established that when ingested, plastics release chemicals which are potentially harmful.
Benjamin Elisha Sawe is a writer based in Kenya. He holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi.