Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

The Danube is full of microplastics

Microplastics polluting natural bodies of water – which are present in increasing quantities around the world – present a major environmental, food safety and health hazard. Among the rivers in Hungary that have been tested so far, the most were found in the Danube: 50 particles per cubic metre.

WESSLING Hungary Ltd. began the Tiny Plastic Mystery project in spring 2018, in order to determine the level of microplastic pollution in the Danube and its tributaries. Earlier samples have already shown that, similar to other European locations, microplastic pollution can be assumed to be present in the surface waters of Hungary, too.

Along the River Tisza, at Dombrád, WESSLING’s measurements showed that the number of plastic pieces over 300 µm in size was 4.9 per cubic metre of water, while the sample from the Tisza Lake had 23.1 particles/m3. Most of the pieces of plastic found were made of the widely used varieties polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene.

50 particles in 1 m3 of water – that sums up the results of the two measurements taken in the Danube, which is quite shocking because it is by far the highest value obtained in any measurement so far in Hungary.

With the assistance of the Central Danube Valley Water Management Directorate, the experts detected 45 particles of plastic in 1 m3 of water on average north of Megyeri Bridge, while the count came to 55 particles at the southern sampling location, by the Csepel Free Port. This may be related to the high population density of cities: the waste washed in by precipitation and wastewater treatment plants may also be significant sources of microplastics.

As regards to the material of the tiny plastic particles detected in the Danube, similar to earlier measurements in Hungary, the majority of the particles were made of the polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene used in consumer items and packaging.

The picturesque Danube Bend at Visegrád Photo: Shutterstock

One-sixth of all marine life could perish by the end of the century due to climate change

Warming may reduce marine life by 17 percent. The world’s oceans could lose one-sixth of their fish and other marine life by the end of the century if climate change continues at the present rate – claim marine biologists.

Polluted waters may burst out in poisonous flames

An unexpected problem associated with the pollution of lakes came into focus last January, when a highly polluted lake in India caught fire because of the massive quantities of waste in it – and according to locals, it was not first time, either.

Chinese artist exhibits provocative piece consisting of bottled groundwater

The severe pollution of waters is an increasingly alarming problem, with many places around the world having no access to clean drinking water, which may have tragic consequences. In 2018, the Chinese artist Brother Nut put on a special exhibition to bring attention to the damage caused by water pollution.

More and more dead zones in the world’s oceans

There are areas in the oceans that have no oxygen and are completely unsuitable for the formation and the sustaining of any kind of life – they are the so-called dead zones. A new study has shown that their number is much greater than previously thought.

The flooding Danube builds trash island

The flooding Danube has built a conspicuous island of waste in Romania, near the county town of Galati. The video produced by the local radio station shows clearly that much of the deposit consists not of natural materials but human waste, particularly plastic.

What is at the bottom of Lake Geneva?

Every year, some 50 tonnes of plastic ends up in Lake Geneva, claims a study commissioned by the Association for the Safeguarding of Lake Geneva (Association pour la suvegarde du Léman, ASL). The samples taken from various depths have shown that a significant portion of that waste is collected in the sediment at the bottom of the lake.

If there is no blue, there is no green, either – that’s why we must protect the oceans

What effect does the astonishingly high rate of pollution of the ocean have on the chemical balance of Earth? What happens if the chemical composition of the oceans and seas changes as a result of global warming? What can we do to stop poisoning the circulatory system of our planet?

Plastic waste in the sea traps birds

At least 8 million tonnes of plastic is released into our planet’s natural waters each year, and the plastic accumulating in the seas and oceans represent a terrible danger to birdlife – warns a May announcement from the UN Environment Programme.

Two tonnes less waste in the Aegean Sea

Greek and Dutch divers have removed two tonnes of discarded fishing nets from the bottom of the sea in northern Greece, where they were endangering wildlife including rare, endangered species of Mediterranean sea-horses.

The world’s largest rivers contaminated with antibiotics

From the Thames to the Tigris, hundreds of rivers have dangerously high levels of antibiotics, says a new international study that is the most comprehensive to date. This is particularly dangerous because the process favours the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria.