Microplastics start off as plastics that we are using in our everyday lives. Over time, these plastics that aren’t recycled, and instead get discarded into our environment, break down and become smaller and smaller. At some point these plastic pieces reach such a small size that they can hardly be seen by the naked eye. It’s at this point that they are referred to as microplastics and become a danger to consumption via water and/or food.
Is there a way to filter out Microplastics from the water?
Due to the recent nature and awareness of the microplastics phenomenon, not much testing is available regarding their removal. For example, researchers have found black berkey filters can easily filter out different types of pathogens and nanometre length viruses, however they have not undergone testing for microplastics in particular. The berkey water company tends to be progressive in their contaminant testing, so the fact that they do not even have results, speaks to how new these microplastic environmental concerns are. Other companies on the market are in a similar situation, so if your favorite water filter does not yet have testing done, please reach out to them and pressure them to do so.
According to a recent study, groundwater systems which are known as a reliable source of drinking water, provide 25% of world’s drinking water. It is this is the water that we’re finding not to be as pure as what we originally thought. Researchers are now finding microplastic fibres in this water along with a number of other pollutants and chemicals. If someone is claiming that they are using ground water and that it’s completely free from any kind of contamination, they may not understand the extent of pollution and our changing environment.
How Does groundwater get polluted from Microplastics?
Surface water slowly seeps through fissures and cracks in limestone and other surface elements. Sometimes, they carry sewage water along with pollutants from the roadways and agricultural land. It then mixes with the groundwater and that’s when the groundwater gets polluted.
Just recently, researchers took seventeen groundwater samples collected from different groundwater bodies such as springs and wells that are supplied via highly fractured limestone aquifers.
From these seventeen samples, sixteen samples were found to be contaminated with microplastic fibers. This study also further showed that, the sample with the highest concentration has almost 15.2 micro plastics per one liter of water. The shocking thing is that, these water samples were being collected from the springs that were coming directly from the ground water supply, meaning they were not interacting with other water body on their way up from the ground water source prior to sample collecting.
What researchers have found is that the levels of pollutants found in the groundwater is almost the same as the pollutants found in the surface water. Industries should be required to filter all their waste water prior to releasing it into the environment, however many companies do not adhere to this. So, between natural plastics breaking down into microplastics and other contaminants from other sources, we are dealing with higher and higher levels of polluted drinking water. Microplastics are just one of the newest contaminants to the scene and highlights the need for us to reduce our plastic consumption as a human race.