TAU study: The country’s coasts are polluted with tons of microplastics

A new study conducted by Tel Aviv University revealed that the country’s coasts are polluted with tons of microplastics (microplastics), while researchers warn against exposure to these polluting plastics, which pose a threat to the environment and our health.

According to the research, the country’s coasts are polluted by more than two tons of microplastics, especially in the Tel Aviv and Hadera regions.

Research conducted by Dr. Andre Eitan Rubin and student Limor Emeisi from the laboratory of Dr. Ines Zucker, in collaboration with the School of Environmental and Global Sciences, has been published in the scientific journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

During the year 2021, researchers collected samples from six areas along the coast: Ashkelon, Rishon LeZion, Tel Aviv, Hadera, Tantora, and Haifa. And they analyzed the samples in the laboratory, including counting the contaminated particles and the mass of the polluting materials and conducting a chemical analysis of the materials. The researchers discovered that the samples included plastic materials sourced from food wrappers, single-use plastic products, and fishing nets. The researcher Robin also pointed out that the percentage of polluting plastic that came from the land, such as food wrappers, was higher than from marine sources such as fishing nets. “This requires more control over beach litter,” he stressed.

What the study found is that the beaches of Tel Aviv and Hadera are the most polluted, as the two cities are located near estuaries. She explained that the stream water carries microplastic particles to the sea, which leads to increased beach pollution.

“Environmental conditions slowly break down this plastic into smaller particles, making it difficult to remove from the environment and more dangerous to human health,” said researcher Rubin. “The microplastic particles that drift into the sea are ingested by fish and eventually reach humans.” As explained by Dr. Zucker said, “It seems that exposure to particulate plastic waste is inevitable.. Practical measures are required to reduce Israel’s contribution to environmental pollution in the Mediterranean.”

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