The Stream, September 19, 2019: Laundry Lint Comprises Majority of Microplastics in Freshwater, Study Finds

The Global Rundown

An analysis of microplastic particles finds that laundry lint contributes to more than half of microplastic pollution. Scientists explore drought as a possible reason for the collapse in Australia’s Bogong moth population. Four English water suppliers are told to address high numbers of customer complaints. Tropical Depression Imelda could bring flash flooding to Houston and other parts of Texas. A gas company in Queensland, Australia, plans to begin fracking near the controversial Carmichael mine site, a move that could further jeopardize the area’s water supplies. 

“The exploration well’s proximity to … precious water resources and to the planned Adani Carmichael coal mine and other slated Galilee mega coal mines is deeply concerning given the likely cumulative impacts on water resources.” –Ellie Smith, a spokesperson for environmental group Lock the Gate Queensland, in reference to plans by gas exploration company Comet Ridge to begin fracking near the Adani Carmichael mine site. Activists, who have raised concerns about the impact of the Carmichael mine on surrounding water resources, say nearby fracking could further disrupt the area’s aquifer. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

4.4 billion Bogong moths that typically migrate to mountain regions of Victoria and New South Wales, Australia, each spring. This year, however, the number of migrating bogong moths was almost undetectable. Scientists say the extreme drop in numbers may be due to prolonged drought. The Guardian

4 Water firms in England that were told to address high numbers of complaints related to service or billing issues. The Consumer Council for Water (CCWater) watchdog found that customers were spending lengthy amounts of time resolving problems such as inaccurate bills. BBC

Science, Studies, and Reports

Published in American Scientist, a new analysis of microplastics in freshwater systems states that 60 percent of the particles come from laundry lint. The contamination occurs when synthetic textiles are washed and release non-biodegradable fibers into wastewater. Scientific American

On the Radar

Tropical Depression Imelda could drop up to 18 inches (46 centimeters) of precipitation in parts of Texas and Louisiana over the next few days. Imelda will be the first named storm to affect the Houston area since Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Associated Press

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