A new study by NUIG has discovered that half of wet-wipe brands labelled “flushable” are found to contain harmful plastic microfibres that end up in Irish waters.

The research states that such wipes and sanitary towels are a far greater threat to the environment than previously understood.

One of the researchers suggests people should dispose of such products in their black bins in preference to flushing them down the toilet.

The study, published in the international journal Water Research, examines the contribution of flushed personal-care textile products to ocean pollution.

It focused on three sites: one adjacent to a wastewater treatment plant near Mutton Island in Galway city; one in Bell Harbour, Co Clare; and another in Bellacragher, Co Mayo.

At Mutton Island, the study found that 91 per cent of the microplastic waste was likely derived from wipes and sanitary towels.

Lead author Liam Morrison from NUIG says the Covid-19 crisis may have made the situation worse.


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