0 Microplastics found in fertilisers being applied to gardens and farmland

Tiny fragments could make their way from waste treatment plants into the food chain, say scientists.

Many organic fertilisers being applied to gardens and farms contain tiny fragments of plastic, according to a new study.

Widely considered a problem affecting the oceans, this work suggests microplastics may actually be far more pervasive.

Having entered the soil, the scientists behind the study have warned these tiny fragments could end up in the food we eat.

The production of organic fertilisers is generally considered environmentally friendly as it involves recycling food waste from households and other sources to make useful products that can be used to grow more food.

However, contamination of the waste used to produce these fertilisers - which are used by gardeners and farmers alike - means tiny microplastics are making their way into the soil.

"One example is people use plastic bags and then put everything together in the bin, and then this is entering the waste treatment plant and ending up in the fertilisers," Professor Ruth Freitag, one of the study's authors, told The Independent.

Professor Freitag, who is based at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, said this is a particular problem in her country due to its progressive composting policy.

Close to 12 million tons of food and garden waste ends up being either composted or sent to biogas fuel plants each year in Germany, due to legal requirements concerning the disposal of organic waste.

By sampling fertilisers produced at different kinds of waste treatment plants, Professor Freitag and her colleagues were able to determine the extent of the contamination problem.

They found the samples had varying amounts of tiny fragments, fibres and spheres of plastics, all smaller than five millimetres, depending on the care with which the compost had been processed.

You can read the full article from the Independent HERE

Tiny fragments could make their way from waste treatment plants into the food chain, say scientists

Many organic fertilisers being applied to gardens and farms contain tiny fragments of plastic, according to a new study.

Widely considered a problem affecting the oceans, this work suggests microplastics may actually be far more pervasive.

Having entered the soil, the scientists behind the study have warned these tiny fragments could end up in the food we eat.

The production of organic fertilisers is generally considered environmentally friendly as it involves recycling food waste from households and other sources to make useful products that can be used to grow more food.

However, contamination of the waste used to produce these fertilisers - which are used by gardeners and farmers alike - means tiny microplastics are making their way into the soil.

"One example is people use plastic bags and then put everything together in the bin, and then this is entering the waste treatment plant and ending up in the fertilisers," Professor Ruth Freitag, one of the study's authors, told The Independent.

Professor Freitag, who is based at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, said this is a particular problem in her country due to its progressive composting policy.

Close to 12 million tons of food and garden waste ends up being either composted or sent to biogas fuel plants each year in Germany, due to legal requirements concerning the disposal of organic waste.

By sampling fertilisers produced at different kinds of waste treatment plants, Professor Freitag and her colleagues were able to determine the extent of the contamination problem.

They found the samples had varying amounts of tiny fragments, fibres and spheres of plastics, all smaller than five millimetres, depending on the care with which the compost had been processed.


You can read the full article from the Independent HERE

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