MATERIALS found in sunscreens are said to be threatening aquatic life in Murcia’s Mar Menor lagoon according to a study conducted by the Spanish Institute of Oceanography(IEO-CSIC).
The survey of plastic levels in Europe’s largest saltwater lagoon involved surface water sampling during the winter and summer seasons.
63 different organic pollutants were detected, including sunscreens, plastic additives, synthetic masks, personal care products and pesticides of various kinds.
The most abundant substances were three endocrine disruptors present in sunscreens that, especially in summer, reached concentrations that could cause adverse biological effects on some aquatic organisms.
These disruptors block normal hormonal action and are found in many household products.
“Sunscreens are present not only in the creams and cosmetics that we use more and more frequently, but also in the formulations of many plastic materials,” explained María del Mar Garcia Pimentel, from Murcia’s IEO-CSIC Oceanographic Centre.
The scientific team found that plastic waste has the capacity to absorb organic pollutants from the seawater that surrounds it, finding 91 different pollutants attached to it.
The plastic waste sampled from the lagoon may have come from multiple sources, including uncontrolled dumping of urban and tourist garbage, as well as activities linked to agriculture and the marine environment.
“It is vital carry out good management of all the waste we generate, not only for its better use but also to reduce the impact that we all cause on the environment that surrounds us,” said del Mar Garcia Pimentel.
More promising news has come from another IEO-CSIC study which says that the presence of drugs in the lagoon sampled in 2018 and 2019 was significantly reduced compared to what was observed in 2010.
Analysis of species such as cockles and conches revealed the main narcotics present included analgesics and anti-inflammatory drugs such as ketoprofen which is used by veterinarians.
- Report: 456 tonnes of nitrates ended up in the Mar Menor in 2022
- 15 sand dune areas will be restored with natural vegetation in La Manga area of Spain’s Mar Menor
- Plan for artificial reefs outside marinas to protect fauna of Spain’s Mar Menor lagoon