• Scientists have found microplastics contaminating a groundwater source that accounts for 25% of the global drinking water supply.
  • Microplastics are already known to contaminate the world’s surface waters, yet scientists have only just begun to explore their presence in groundwater systems.
  • Fractured limestone aquifers are a groundwater source that accounts for 25% of the global drinking water supply.
  • Plastic in the environment breaks down into microscopic particles that can end up in the guts and gills of marine life, exposing the animals to chemicals in the plastics.
  • As the plastics break down, they act like sponges that soak up contaminants and microbes and can ultimately work their way into our food supply.
  • Groundwater flows through the cracks and voids in limestone, sometimes carrying sewage and runoff from roads, landfills and agricultural areas into the aquifers below.
  • The researchers identified a variety of household and personal health contaminants along with the microplastics, a hint that the fibres may have originated from household septic systems.
  • It is estimated that 6.3 billion metric tonnes of plastic waste have been produced since the 1940s, and 79% of that is now in landfills or the natural environment.