A recent study has found microplastics in samples of tap water supplied to Goa households.
The study report, released Wednesday, showed that 288 microplastic particles were found in 11 samples — five collected from Panaji, Mapusa, Margao, Marcel and Cancona, and six from water treatment plants (WTPs) at Opa, Assonora and Selaulim.
The study was carried out by by CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography and Delhi-based research and advocacy organisation Toxics Link.
“Shockingly, MPs (microplastics) were detected in all tap water samples as well as water samples collected from different WTPs. Though their number varied, their presence, especially in tap water samples, raises serious concern about microplastic exposure for residents,” the report said. Microplastics were present in pre-treatment and post treatment samples, however, the content in treated water was lower.
The report stated, “Once ingested via tap water, there is the potential for exposure to chemical contaminants absorbed to the microplastics and any additives in microplastics. Therefore, microplastics may cause toxicity in the human body… Although the water treatment process may reduce a portion of the microplastics, some microplastics still remain in tap water. However, although there is no documented evidence till date that ingesting microplastics can directly harm human health, the potential threat of microplastics cannot be ignored.”
The study report was released at the International Centre Goa by NIO’s principal scientist Dr Mahua Saha and associate director of Toxics Link, Satish Sinha.
At the event, Saha said this was a first of its kind study in India. She added however, that it was only a preliminary study. “We need a more comprehensive study in the future. We could not extend our study to other cities because of lockdown (in 2020). This can be the phenomenon in many other cities. This is not just confined to Goa,” said Saha.
According to the report, the microplastic content found in tap water samples was relatively higher than that found in post-treatment water samples, which suggests that contamination “may be during the process of transportation, since most of the water lines are made of PVC pipes. Plastic pipes in drinking water distribution systems may be an important source of microplastics.”