The researchers noted that the rise in microplastics around the world began to threaten livestock. In the last few years, this material has begun to be found in areas of intensive agriculture.
In the Murcia region of southeastern Spain, large amounts of microplastics have been noticed in fields where vegetables and grazing plants are grown. Low-density material is difficult to remove completely. Over time, it degrades into smaller particles absorbed by the soil, carried by water or wind, and enters animals’ organisms.
To find out the state of microplastic contamination in this area, researchers from the University of Cartagena analyzed the presence of plastics in agricultural soil and sheep feces. So they wanted to determine the level of harmful material in the body of livestock. They also wanted to identify possible ingestion of plastic in livestock that feeds on farmland.
They found that 100% of the analyzed soil samples contained microplastics, as did 92% of the tested sheep feces samples. The researchers note that they recorded 2,000 microplastic particles per kilogram of soil and 1,000 particles per kilogram of dry feces.
For the first time, scientists established a high concentration of plastics and warned about the ingress of this material into the organisms of farm animals and, accordingly, into food. In future research, they want to analyze how the plastic ingestion of these animals affects them.
Earlier it was revealed that the United States produced more plastic waste than any other country. The study results, published in the journal Science, show that despite a “reliable and affordable waste management system,” between 309 and 904 million kilograms of plastic waste were illegally dumped in the United States.