Saskatchewan

Researchers shocked by amount of plastic in Regina's Wascana Creek

Researchers say they were shocked by the amount of plastic they found in water samples from Wascana Creek.

Microscopic beads and other plastic fibres found in water samples

A microplastic bead contained in toothpaste as seen under a microscope. (Dr. Harold Weger)

Researchers say they were shocked by the amount of plastic they found in water samples from Wascana Creek.

A study paid for by the province's Fish and Wildlife Development Fund set out to see how much microplastic could be found in the creek.

Britt Hall is an environmental scientist in the department of Biology at the University of Regina.

She warned her student, Samantha Campbell, not to be surprised if they did not find any plastic.

Instead, Campbell found a lot.
A blue plastic fibre found in Wascana Creek, as seen under a microscope. (Dr. Harold Weger)

"Hundreds of them instead of just the one or two that we were maybe expecting to find. So yeah, I was just in shock that there was so much in such a low-populated city," said Campbell.

Hall says the majority of the microplastic is not beads, as in other bodies of water, but rather tiny fibres.

"That could come from synthetic fibres, from something like a tarp for example, or a net, fishing gear. Those are the types of plastic that we're seeing most of," said Hall.

The researchers will now study fish stomachs collected from the creek to see how much of the plastic fibres and beads the fish are ingesting.

Refrigerated fish stomachs wait to be chemically digested to see what remains. (Britt Hall)

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