UAE scientists sound the alarm over new environmental threat

Scientists from the UAE’s Al Ain University have found thousands of microplastic particles in soil samples taken from seven parks in the city. They said the findings indicate an imminent environmental threat.

The scientists called on society to take urgent action to limit further increases in the amount of microplastics appearing in the environment. The study highlights that tiny plastic particles, often invisible to the naked eye, have already become commonplace in nature. Microplastic levels are increasing every day, but have not yet reached a critical threshold to lead to disaster.

The researchers collected 104 samples from seven parks in Al Ain, using a probe to remove the top 30 centimetres of soil. The samples were dried, spread on glass petri dishes, and analysed under a microscope.

Many of the particles contained sludge suspected to be from sewage treatment plants and used as fertiliser in UAE parks. Along with reclaimed water, also from sewage treatment plants, this sludge was probably the main source of microplastics.

“The ubiquitous presence of plastic particles, mostly resulting from human activity, highlights the impending environmental threat,” the scientists reported, “Therefore, it is crucial to raise public awareness, and implement protection methods to effectively mitigate the effects of microplastic pollution.

Plastic pollution has become a growing concern in recent decades as the amount of plastic used in packaging, clothing and many other items has increased significantly.

Source: The National

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