The Worldwide Spread of Plastic Is Strengthened By River Floods, Research Shows

Published On:January 11, 2021, 2:40 pm

A research has shown that river floods are accelerating the spread of plastic across the globe, posing potentially significant health risks for people and wildlife. The research revealed that, relative to non-flooding environments, a low-severity flood would increase the spreading capacity of plastic almost 10-fold globally. Nevertheless, in developing areas, which appear to have the highest rates of plastic waste and the lowest number of flood defenses, the potential of floods to increase the spread of plastic is greatest, the study said. According to the data, Bangladesh is the country facing the highest rise in the spread of plastic during floods.

Under high-severity floods, the distribution of plastics is likely to be much greater, the authors added. The results, published in Environmental Research Letters, are the first to illustrate the role that river floods play in helping plastics spread around the world, said lead author Caspar Roebroek, a PhD student at ETH Zurich in Switzerland, researching plastic pollution. The issue with plastic spreading is that the farther it goes from where it comes from, the harder it is to clean up, he said. It's very easy to clean up if plastic is discarded in a town. So it's going to be much harder to clean up if it gets washed out of the city and gets into the sewage network or river channels.

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