How your plastic water bottle could be harbouring more germs than a DOG BOWL

Tests on water bottles were carried out by Minneapolis-based fitness website Treadmill Reviews. It found harmful bacteria such as E.coli lurking on the refillable water containers.

Read Full Article

  • Tests found water bottles were harbouring dangerous germs like E.coli
  • Some had more harmful bacteria than a dog bowl, toy or a toilet seat
  • Slide-top types found to be the worst and those with a straw the best 

Most gym-goers make regular trips to the water cooler armed with a plastic bottle, happy they’re doing their bit for the environment while keeping hydrated.

But while quenching your thirst after pounding the treadmill is a vital part of any workout, it turns out you could actually unwittingly make yourself sick.

New research has discovered these plastic water bottles can harbour more germs than a toilet seat.

In fact, slugging from the same refillable vessel was found to be ‘many times worse than licking your dog’s toy’.

Tests revealed thousands of moisture-loving bacteria crawling all over the spouts and caps.

Research by TreadmillReviews.net lab-tested 12 refillable water bottles that had been used by athletes over the course of a week.

In fact, the average person’s water bottle was found to have over 300,000 colony forming units of bacteria.

Perhaps most surprising, most of these germs were the most harmful types – known as gram negative rods – such as E.coli and salmonella.

There were a host of bacteria linked to skin infections, pneumonia as well as blood poisoning.

 SO WHICH FAIRED BEST AND WORST? 

Slide-top versions had the highest germ content, with more than 900,000 colony-forming units per square centimeter (CFU/sq) cm on average.

They had the most gram-positive cocci, which have been linked to skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning.

Squeeze-top bottles were next with 162,000 CFU/sq cm while screw-top containers had around 160,000 CFU/sq cm.

Meanwhile, straw-top bottles were by far and above the winners with only 25 CFU/sq cm.

It is thought it could be because water drips to the bottom of the straw rather than sticking around to attract moisture-loving germs.

Those found at the tops of straws were ‘mostly harmless.’

‘Based on our test results, we suggest opting for a straw-top bottle, both for the low prevalence of bacteria and the lack of harmful germs,’ the fitness website said.

While no tests were performed on re-using standard shop-bought mineral water bottles, the results suggest there would be a similar high level of germs.

The Missouri-based website says stainless steel vessels are a better choice than plastic.

It also recommends running bottles through the dishwasher or handwashing thoroughly after every use.

 

 

World’s largest collection of ocean garbage is twice the size of Texas

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a collection of plastic, floating trash halfway between Hawaii and California, has grown to more than 600,000 square miles, a study published Thursday found. That’s twice the size of Texas.

Read Full Article

Winds and converging ocean currents funnel the garbage into a central location, said study lead author Laurent Lebreton of the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, a non-profit organization that spearheaded the research.

First discovered in the early 1990s, the trash in the patch comes from around the Pacific Rim, including nations in Asia and North and South America, Lebreton said.

The patch is not a solid mass of plastic. It includes about 1.8 trillion pieces and weighs 88,000 tons — the equivalent of 500 jumbo jets. The new figures are as much as 16 times higher than previous estimates.

The research — the most complete study undertaken of the garbage patch — was published Thursday in the peer-reviewed journal Scientific Reports.

 “We were surprised by the amount of large plastic objects we encountered,” said Julia Reisser of the foundation. “We used to think most of the debris consists of small fragments, but this new analysis shines a new light on the scope of the debris.”

The study was based on a three-year mapping effort by an international team of scientists affiliated with the Ocean Cleanup Foundation, six universities and an aerial sensor company.

Sadly, the Pacific patch isn’t alone. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest of five such trash collections in the ocean, Lebreton said.

Scientists work with the European Space Agency to take photos of the garbage patches from space.

No governments have stepped up to clean the trash, which is in international waters, so it’s up to privately funded groups such as the Ocean Cleanup Foundation to take the lead in getting rid of the garbage.

There’s a sense of urgency, said Joost Dubois, a spokesman with the foundation.

“It’s a ticking time bomb of larger material,” Dubois said. “We’ve got to get it before it breaks down into a size that’s too small to collect and also dangerous for marine life.”

Since plastic has been around only since the 1950s, there’s no way of knowing exactly how long it will last in the ocean. If left alone, the plastic could remain there for decades, centuries or even longer.

“Unless we begin to remove it, some would say it may remain there forever,” Lebreton said.

 

ABC News: Diver films wave of plastic pollution on scale ‘never seen before.’

A diver who filmed a huge “slick” of plastic floating in clear waters at a popular dive spot in Indonesia said he has “never seen anything like this scale” of ocean pollution before.  (READ FULL ARTICLE)

In a video uploaded to social media, diver Rich Horner is seen swimming through masses of floating plastic garbage at a dive spot usually frequented by manta rays which come to get cleaned.

Although the dive site lies off the coast of Nusa Penida — a small island with low population — there is a stretch of only 20 kilometres of water separating Nusa Penida from the island of Bali and its capital Denpasar.

“Plastic straws, plastic baskets, plastic bags, more plastic bags, plastic, plastic, so much plastic!” Mr Horner wrote on Facebook.

“Surprise, surprise there weren’t many mantas there at the cleaning station today. They mostly decided not to bother.”

Mr Horner said the level of plastic at that site varied throughout the year, and there was no plastic visible during the dry season but random clouds and slicks appear during the wet season.

He said this trash in the footage had cleared by the next day.

A new study by researchers from Australia, Italy and the US have found tiny plastic particles are a particular threat to “filter-feeding” animals like the manta rays near Bali, which can swallow up to 90 pieces every hour.

Murdoch University lead researcher Elitza Germanov said microplastics — particles smaller than five millimetres long — contain toxic chemicals that, if ingested, could alter biological processes in the animals, such as growth, development and reproduction.

“We are still trying to understand the magnitude of the issue,” Ms Germanov said.

“Microplastic contamination has the potential to further reduce the population numbers of these species, many of which are long-lived and have few offspring throughout their lives.”

A diet of plastic

Once this trash ends up in the ocean and is swept up by currents, it is virtually irretrievable.
Exposed to saltwater, sunlight and heat, larger plastic pieces will eventually break down into smaller and smaller bits.
Marine filter-feeders like mantas, whales and whale sharks are at risk because of their feeding habits. They swallow thousands of cubic metres of water per day, to capture plankton and other tiny organisms floating in the sea.

Ms Germanov, who is in the final stages of a PhD project through Murdoch University, is focusing on plastic pollution in manta ray feeding grounds around the coastline of Nusa Penida and Komodo National Park in Indonesia.
“Plastics are definitely on the menu here,” she said.
Welcome to a (plastic) island paradise

A remote and uninhabited island wilderness in the South Pacific is literally a garbage dump and these photos prove it.

“Our first results indicate that the mantas ingest 40 to 90 pieces of microplastics per hour.”

With the help of a team of local researchers from Udayana University in Bali, she is also collecting samples of egested material and stomach contents of the animals to study their exposure to plastic-associated toxins.
In a last step, the team is conducting a social study, quizzing local communities on their awareness around the issue.

“Raising awareness of this issue in communities, among governing bodies and industries could help to change behaviours around the production, management and use of plastics,” Ms Germanov said.

Tourism could drive change

Janis Argeswara, a marine science student at Udayana University, said she was shocked about the manta rays swimming in a “pile of trash”.
“Bali’s economy depends heavily on tourism for income,” she said.

“If the mantas disappear off Nusa Penida, people here wouldn’t know what to do.”

Large ocean species attract thousands of wildlife enthusiasts to tourism destinations such as Indonesia every year.

They also make up a large part of Australia’s tourism dollars.
And while the waters of South-East Asia are some of the worst affected in terms of plastic waste, rubbish is also entering Australian waters.

Researchers have long found a microplastic hot spot near the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef, which is famous for its whale shark encounters.

“Plastic beads in facial scrubs and toothpastes, which are too small to be filtered during water treatment, are another factor for the pollution,” Ms Germanov said.

Many of the species at risk from microplastics are endangered already.

The world’s largest fish, the whale shark, is listed as vulnerable on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with only 7,000 remaining species in 2016.

With a decreasing current population trend, manta rays have also been designated a threatened species.

“I just really want to make a fuss about this and draw attention to these amazing creatures, knowing that they are important to tourism, so that these countries consider protecting their assets,” Ms Germanov said.