Huge amounts of plastic from artificial grass end up in the sea

Huge amounts of plastic from artificial grass end up in the sea

A man-made pitch broken by flooding in Palma on the island of Mallorca, Spain

Clara Margais/Getty Photos

Items of synthetic grass could make up a big portion of the plastic discovered within the seawater near a significant metropolis, a research in Spain has revealed.

Liam de Haan on the College of Barcelona and his colleagues analysed 217 water samples collected off the coast of Barcelona, in north-east Spain, and 200 from the Guadalquivir river in Seville, within the south-west of the nation, collected between 2014 and 2021.

They targeted their evaluation on plastic items bigger than 5 millimetres, excluding smaller particles, often known as microplastics, as a result of it’s tougher to find out the place they arrive from, says de Haan.

Fibres that make up synthetic grass are normally very skinny, lengthy and curled, and inexperienced in color, he says, making them straightforward to determine.

In Barcelona, fibres from synthetic grass accounted for 15 per cent of plastic items bigger than 5 millimetres within the samples from inside 1 kilometre of the shore. “We had been actually stunned that no one had reported this earlier than,” says de Haan.

The focus of synthetic grass fibres floating within the sea was as excessive as 213,200 fibres per sq. kilometre in some locations. Barcelona’s giant inhabitants – round 1.7 million – and the big variety of synthetic sports activities pitches within the metropolis most likely account for why the determine is so excessive, says de Haan.

Within the Guadalquivir river in Seville, the typical focus of plastic air pollution from synthetic grass was on common 50 instances decrease than within the seawater off Barcelona.

This distinction might be right down to the truth that the river merely flushes plastic into the ocean, whereas plastic can accumulate extra within the sea, says de Haan. Seville additionally has a much smaller inhabitants than Barcelona, at simply over 700,000 individuals.

De Haan says the problem is prone to be world. “I believe it’s fairly implausible that that is solely occurring in Spain,” he says. Since we don’t understand how a lot synthetic grass breaks down into microplastics and nanoplastics, and the way a lot this contributes to plastic air pollution in water our bodies, the issue might be even greater, he provides.


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