Monday December 04, 2023

Faster growth may help bacteria remove lake plastic waste

July 27, 2022

PARIS: Chemicals leaking from plastic waste make bacteria grow faster in European lakes, according to research published on Tuesday that authors said could provide a natural way to remove plastic pollution from freshwater ecosystems.

Microplastics have been found in virtually every corner of the globe -- from the highest glaciers to the bottom of the deepest sea trench -- but the impact of plastic pollution in lakes is less well researched than in oceans. When plastic materials such as carrier bags break down in water, they release simple carbon compounds slightly different to those produced when organic matter such as twigs and leaves disintegrate.

Researchers from the University of Cambridge wanted to see what effect these compounds had on bacteria populations in 29 lakes across Scandinavia.

They cut up plastic bags from four major British shopping chains and mixed them with water until the carbon compounds were released.