First Scotland-wide drugs and microplastics test of rivers launched - The James Hutton Institute

Environmental scientists at The James Hutton Institute have launched the first nation-wide drug and microplastics test on Scotland’s rivers to help shed light on the increasing mix of pharmaceuticals, chemicals and plastics entering our waters.

The Scottish Government-funded study is testing for a cocktail of chemicals, from pesticides to antidepressants, to help reveal areas of concern, such as rivers or specific contaminants, that need closer monitoring.

The study is initially focussing on the Rivers Dee and Ugie in Aberdeenshire, taking in urban and rural settings respectively, before spreading out across Scotland’s wider river catchments over two years.

Research scientist Dr Jessica Gomez-Banderas says, “There is concern about the increasing mix of pharmaceuticals, household chemicals and microplastics going into our rivers and the impacts these could have, from impacting animal reproductive systems to spreading disease resistance in the environment. But we don’t know enough about how much of these contaminants are going into our rivers at a national and catchment scale. They come from a variety of sources, from us, through wastewater, farming and other activities, while climate change could exacerbate the effects they have."

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Posted On: 09/02/2024

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