In Nigeria, about 90% of water available for drinking is sourced from boreholes. Deep and narrow wells tap into naturally occurring underground water.A recent study was published in Environmental Toxicology & Chemistry, where scientists found that microplastics (MPs) are abundant in the drinking water of these boreholes.
MPs are fragments of any type of plastic less than 5 mm in length. These are usually found in borehole water and sediments at all 11 locations investigated in Lagos Island, Nigeria. Areas with high industrial activity had higher levels of MPs than areas with less industrial activity and lower population densities.
The rate of degradation of these polymers is exceedingly low. It will result in the increased accumulation of these MPs in the borehole drinking water with time. The risks associated with MPs are predominantly caused by the combination of these materials’ persistence and their potential accumulation in food chains.