HomePOPULARGlitter's Dark Side: New Study Reveals Environmental Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems

Glitter’s Dark Side: New Study Reveals Environmental Impact on Aquatic Ecosystems

Despite its association with fun and frivolity, glitter has a dark side. Flecks of glitter reduce the amount of sunlight that penetrates into bodies of water, a new study shows, potentially impairing the ability of some aquatic plants to photosynthesize.

Glitter, essentially a microplastic in disguise, persists and accumulates in the environment due to its resistance to degradation. The recent ban on microplastic glitter in the European Union underscores the growing recognition of its harmful environmental impact.

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Led by researchers from the Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar) in Brazil, the study highlights an additional problem associated with glitter. While glitter is typically made of plastic, it often features a metallic coating made from aluminum, bismuth, iron, or titanium. The presence of these metals can prevent aquatic plants from receiving enough sunlight, thus interfering with photosynthesis.

The study focused on the large-flowered waterweed (Egeria densa), a macrophyte native to South America, which plays crucial roles in ecosystem functions such as providing food, shelter, and oxygen. The researchers found that glitter particles reduced photosynthesis rates in waterweed, indicating their potential to disrupt aquatic ecosystems.

Co-author Marcela Bianchessi da Cunha-Santino emphasizes that the effects of glitter pollution may extend beyond macrophytes, affecting various aquatic organisms and disrupting food chains. The study underscores the importance of an ecological approach to understanding the impacts of environmental pollutants.

Although the study provides insights into the harmful effects of glitter on aquatic ecosystems, more research is needed to assess its concentrations in natural environments and the responses of aquatic inhabitants. In the meantime, co-author Irineu Bianchini Jr. suggests re-evaluating society’s relationship with glitter and considering more sustainable alternatives.

As glitter pollution poses a threat to aquatic ecosystems, urgent action is needed to mitigate its environmental impact and protect vulnerable ecosystems from further harm.

Read Now:PM Narendra Modi Chairs Council Meeting, Unveils ‘Viksit Bharat 2047’ Vision

Reference: https://www.sciencealert.com/glitter-has-a-dark-side-and-its-causing-even-more-harm-than-we-realized

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