A new study has found that the drinking water in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city, is contaminated with microplastics.
The researchers analysed water and sediment from boreholes and microplastics with sizes of less than 5mm were found in all 11 testing sites. Results showed "the presence of microplastics in drinking water and sediments from the sites, with plastic concentrations ranging from 206 to 1691 items /m3 and 9–47 items /kg for drinking water and sediments, respectively”.
A 2019 study performed by UK Water Industry Research found a maximum concentration of 3 items/m3 in the country’s drinking water.
Lagos is Africa’s second largest city and 90% of its 15 million inhabitants rely on boreholes for drinking water. The study also found that the more populated and industrially active an area was, the higher the levels of concentration were.
The study was published in Environmental and Toxicology and Chemistry and was performed by members of the China University of Petroleum and Nigeria’s Covenant University.
The World Health Organisation published a report in 2019 calling for further research to be done to fully understand the extent of the issue and the implications to human life and to ecosystems. It also called for research that would help better understand the different impacts of microplastic concentration in drinking water depending on polymer type, size and shape.