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Friday, February 9, 2024

First Scotland-wide medicine and microplastics check of rivers launched

The River Dee (picture credit score: The James Hutton Institute).

Environmental scientists at The James Hutton Institute have launched the primary nation-wide drug and microplastics check on Scotland’s rivers to assist make clear the growing mixture of prescription drugs, chemical compounds and plastics getting into our waters.

The Scottish Authorities-funded research is testing for a cocktail of chemical compounds, from pesticides to antidepressants, to assist reveal areas of concern, equivalent to rivers or particular contaminants, that want nearer monitoring.

The research is initially focussing on the Rivers Dee and Ugie in Aberdeenshire, taking in city and rural settings respectively, earlier than spreading out throughout Scotland’s wider river catchments over two years.

Analysis scientist Dr Jessica Gomez-Banderas says, “There may be concern concerning the growing mixture of prescription drugs, family chemical compounds and microplastics going into our rivers and the impacts these might have, from impacting animal reproductive programs to spreading illness resistance within the setting.

“However we don’t know sufficient about how a lot of those contaminants are going into our rivers at a nationwide and catchment scale. They arrive from a wide range of sources, from us, by means of wastewater, farming and different actions, whereas local weather change might exacerbate the consequences they’ve.

“By making a nationwide baseline, we’ll have a helpful dataset serving to level to the contaminants and rivers that may want extra scrutiny and assist predict the impression of issues like local weather or land use change. Finally, it might assist to tell selections across the medicines and chemical compounds we use to assist restrict environmental impacts.”

The challenge will check for 42 of the extra frequent prescription drugs (often medicine that passthrough people into the sewage remedy course of or from livestock onto the land), 16 pesticides and 6 different frequent family chemical compounds identified to disrupt hormones.

The challenge was knowledgeable by and complement’s the continued Chemical Investigation Programme Scotland as a part of work aiming to assist Scottish rivers obtain “good standing” below the Water Framework Directive.

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