Some of Sydney’s favourite harbour beaches suffer very high levels of plastic pollution, prompting concerns for the safety of swimmers in the area.
The most poorly rated beaches included Manly Cove, with an average of 4051 microplastics per square metre, according to data from the Australian Microplastic Assessment Project. Whiting Beach at Mosman (792), Watsons Bay (781), Newport Beach (333) and Foreshore Beach (316) were rated as having high levels of microplastic waste.
Dr Wilson, who is AUSMAP research director and an honorary senior research fellow at Macquarie University, said the data showed the widespread distribution of microplastics in waterways, potentially impacting the health of aquatic environments. “With plastics not breaking down but continuing to fragment over time, it means that a range of organisms, from plankton through to whales, may be potentially exposed to them”.
Microplastics are less than five millimetres in size and can be items such as plastic resin pellets and microbeads from facial scrubs, or fragments of plastic products washed into gutters and then waterways.
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