Oct 14 - Plastic Particles Found In Freshwater Species

The evidence that plastic pollution is a serious and deadly threat keeps mounting. A recent study showed that plastic, namely polystyrene, is leaching chemicals into oceans and sand, threatening marine life; now a new study reveals the same threat exists for freshwater species.

This new study of Italy’s Lake Garda found similar levels of plastic pollution to that found in ocean studies. According to BBC News:

They are concerned that these tiny plastic particles are accumulating in freshwater species and are "likely" to get into the food chain.

Just as ocean creatures ingest tiny particles of plastic, freshwater creatures have been found to do the same.

"What we show is that filter feeders and sediment feeders and organisms that feed on the surface layer of the lake, all swallow these plastic particles mistaking them for food.
"There might be impacts when it affects the hormone system, they could become sterile for example. It could also be, that when fish are feeding on these organisms they accumulate these particles also in their tissue."

The researchers warn that Lake Garda is not unique; the same thing could be happening in lakes worldwide. In fact, concerns about ingestion of plastic by fish and possible impacts to the food chain led a group in the US to launch a study last year of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes.

Plastic pollution continues to be one of the biggest problems facing our economy and environment. And it will only get worse unless something changes.

Polystyrene food containers and single-use plastic bags are two of the most commonly found items at coastal clean ups. Many California communities have taken action by adopting ordinances banning single-use plastic bags and polystyrene food containers.

Has your community joined the fight against plastic pollution? Check out our Bag Ban Tool Kit and get started today!

Photo credit: BBC News - Freshwater crustaceans from Lake Garda were found to have micro-plastic particles in their digestive tracts.

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