Plastic Pollution: Snowdon research is a 'red flag'

As per environmentalists, discovering micro-plastic pollution close to the top of the highest mountain in Wales is an eye-opening 'red flag'.

Plastic traces have been found in samples collected from Llyn Glaslyn - an isolated lake nearby the Snowdon summit. As per the wetland science expert, the small particles are 'most probably' to have been deposited by rain.

Last April, an activist Laura Sanderson swam 26 km from the source of the Glaslyn River. She collected the water samples along the way. Laura will now explore all 15 national parks in the United Kingdom to gain more knowledge.

Results indicated an average of three pieces of microplastic per litre from the lake made popular by Arthurian legend. The levels soared to eight per litre at the estuary river at Porthmadog, Gwynedd. But, the full extent of pollution is anticipated to be far worse. The analysis, performed at the School of Natural Sciences at Bangor University, was intentionally basic, with scientists eager to come up with an easy-to-use, affordable method for colleges and schools.

The wetland science expert continued that the results are scary when you think that this is at the mountain peak and a very isolated location. But, a more elaborate analysis will almost indeed find more plastic. He said he should be surprised because it was terrible, but unfortunately, he was not.

Scientists believe that microplastics - anything less than 5mm in size - and nano-plastics - visible only under a microscope, are present in the rainfall and air.

As per the science expert, that was the possible reason for microplastic pollution in Snowdon, although particles released from litter breaking down can also be a reason. He added that they have yet to determine the exact situation, but this work will help. But, they have to pay attention to the problem of how much plastic they use daily. It is a valuable resource, especially for health care, but there are several situations where plastic is essential. Snowdonia National Park Authority stated that litter - especially plastic wrappers and bottles is a real problem, and teams of volunteer wardens gather almost 400 bags of litter off the mountain yearly.

Having focused the problem on Snowdon's post-enduring icy and snow water temperatures, 38-year-old Laura, from Harlech, Gwynedd, will start a 1000 km expedition across the UK. Beginning later this month, she will gather samples by swimming via lakes, rivers or coastlines of all 15 national parks. The expedition will start from the mountainous Cairngorms in the eastern Highlands of Scotland and continue to the Dartmoor plains in Devon.

The challenge is accepted to take around one year to complete before scientists form a report on the results.

Laura expressed that they were horrified when they were informed that the collected water had microplastics. So, now they want to observe just how big the problem is and explore waterways in all their national parks.

The environmental organisation Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) supports the research. Experts believe that Laura, swimming, can offer a 'unique opportunity' to gather water samples from difficult-to-reach sites.

India must also learn from this research and practice plastic waste recycling as much as possible.

Diksha Khiatani

A writer by day and a reader at night. Emerging from an Engineering background, Diksha has completed her M. Tech in Computer Science field. Being passionate about writing, she started her career as a Writer. She finds it interesting and always grabs time to research and write about Environmental laws and compliances. With extensive knowledge on content writing, she has been delivering high-quality write-ups. Besides, you will often find her with a novel and a cuppa!

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