In a first, scientists find Amazon freshwater fish contaminated by plastic pieces | GBRI


In another reminder of how the problem of plastic pollution has gone from bad to worse, for the first time, scientists have found traces of plastic in the stomachs of freshwater fish in the Amazon basin.

Scientists studied the stomach contents of fish in Brazil’s Xingu River, one of the major tributaries of the Amazon, and found a dozen distinct polymers used to manufacture plastic items, including bags, bottles, and fishing gear. Most pieces were black, red, blue, white or translucent and varied from 1 mm-sized particles to flakes measuring 15 mm in width.

The researchers focused on fish in the Xingu because of their rich diversity and breadth of feeding habits. The fish ranged from 4 cm to nearly a foot in length, and weighed from 2 grams to nearly a kilogram.

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