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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

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.

More than half of the plastic waste found in the lake was derived from motorized traffic and the wear of tyres. That fine dust is washed into the lake by groundwater and small streams. The second largest source is packaging thrown away by careless people. The annual quantity is estimated at 10 tonnes.

The study commissioned by ASL has also found plastic waste from building sites, clothing, cosmetics and paint. The French-Swiss association created to protect Lake Geneva has stressed that fish and birds could perish if they swallow the plastic particles.

Lake Geneva is the second largest freshwater lake in Central Europe, with 60% of the lake in Switzerland and 40% in France Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: SWI

The cycle of active pharmaceuticals: from the sewage system onto our tables

The set of problems around pharmaceutical residues is extremely complex: the active compounds that are released can reach not only drinking water but also our food. Luckily, scientists have started investigating the problem, and the development of technologies able to offer a solution is also under way.

Scientists on the trail of pharmaceutical residues

The active ingredients of various medicines are released into the environment with treated and untreated wastewater, and today they can be detected not only in surface waters but also in underground waters and the soil. But what defensive measures can we take against them? Hundreds of research groups are studying that question worldwide.

Thousands of marine mammals perish around UK shores

Data from the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme indicates that between 2011 and 2017, almost five thousand marine mammals were stranded around the shores of the UK.

Food packaging trash covers beaches

Nine of the ten most common types of seaside waste are related to human food and drink consumption.

Medications in the water?

More and more pharmaceutical drugs are sold each year, which, along with their benefits, have their disadvantages, too: some of the active ingredients are discharged from our bodies unchanged and they end up polluting our natural waters. Our current knowledge suggests that this does not carry a significant health risk, but as we do not know the long-term effects of the process, it is a problem for which we must find a solution in the near future, for instance by introducing new technologies.

Over two tonnes of golf balls collected from Monterey Bay

Specialists believe almost 30 kilograms of microplastics has eroded from such a quantity of golf balls into the water.

Awareness-raising popsicles made of polluted water

Three design students in Taiwan teamed up to create the Polluted Water Popsicles project so as to call attention to the increasing level of water pollution caused by the country’s economic growth and urbanisation.

From pharmacies to natural waters

Modern medical science offers effective solutions to an increasing number of health problems, and in most cases they take the form of medications. Pills make our pain go away, they improve our quality of life and aid our recovery. But, unfortunately, the effects of their active ingredients do not stop there.

Volunteer collects 300 bags of waste in two months on Lake Tisza

During the 1st Lake Tisza Plastic Cup, 32-year-old Bence Párdy got so outraged by the massive amount of waste covering the lake that after the Cup he left his job and moved to the side of the lake, where he has been collecting waste as a volunteer for over two months.

Water pollution is a greater issue than microplastics

According to a report from the UN World Health Organisation, we urgently need to know more about microplastics, although according to our very limited current knowledge, they represent only a minimal health risk. Polluted drinking water is a much greater problem, as its consumption causes millions of fatalities each year.

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