New Research Shows That The Majority Of Fish Have Ingested Plastic In Two Freshwater Estuaries

Source: Phys.org/Royal Holloway/University of London

Photo: Andreas Trepte/Wikimedia Commons

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Microplastics are defined as small pieces of plastic no larger than 5mm in size, that have been broken down by time, and this new research identifies the extent in which it is a threat to marine life. Whilst much attention has been focused on oceanic plastic pollution, this new study explores the impact plastic waste is having on rivers and the fresh water species that inhabit them.

The research, led by London NERC DTP Ph.D. student Alexandra McGoran, along with Professor David Morritt and Dr. James McEvoy, from the School of Biological Sciences at Royal Holloway, Dr. Phillip Cowie from the University of the West of Scotland, and Dr. Paul Clark from the Natural History Museum, examined both upper and lower water species in the Thames Estuary and Firth of Clyde.

The results of this study concluded that, out of the 876 fish and shrimp examined across both estuaries, around a third had ingested microplastics, and the average number of  pieces that had been consumed was equal across the Thames and Clyde.

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Photo: Andreas Trepte/Wikimedia Commons

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