Insecticides, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, fertilizers, urine, faeces, drugs, hormones, hydro-alcoholic gels, macro micro nano plastics, straws, cigarette butts, surgical masks, synthetic nano-micro fibers released by our washing machines, gloves latex, vinyl gloves, extreme anti-tanning creams toxic to biofauna, ideal culture medium for bacteria, viruses in water, on pebbles, heavy metals from old mines, deep layers released by climate change, radionuclides from Chernobyl , Saharan dust from the nuclear tests of the 1950s, carbon dioxide which forms carbonic acids in contact with the already acidic waters of our Cévennes, circulates in our rivers to flow into the sea. Whose fault is it? To those who find them biomagnified on their plates. All of these pollutants are transmitted from water to plants, animals and humans at the end of the food chain.
A new pollutant: the polypropylene surgical mask abandoned in cities and Nature.
The surgical and FFP2 masks are both made from polypropylene, a polymer that resembles plastic. Largely legitimate in terms of health, its use generates unprecedented pollution. "Polypropylene is not biodegradable in nature, nor is it compostable. It will degrade by the action of UV, oxidation in a process that can take 500 years. But without ultimately being biodegraded, "Ludwik Leibler, member of the Academy of Sciences and laboratory director at CNRS-ESPCI, told HuffPost.
These are in fact the same issues that arise as with the plastic bag, which takes nearly 450 years to degrade, abounds in Etienne Grau, teacher-researcher at the University of Bordeaux.
An ignored pollutant: the butt.
A cigarette butt contains 12,000 fibers which release into the environment 4,000 toxic, 250 harmful chemicals, 50 carcinogens including nicotine, insecticides, pesticides in tobacco and a heavy metal very dangerous for flora, fauna, human beings: cadmium, a neuro- toxic. The filter of cigarettes was designed so that the fragments of tobacco leaves do not pass into the mouth of human beings but they pass through the mouths of fish, birds. Slaughter showed in 1985 that all the elements resulting from the combustion of tobacco and cigarette paper adsorb and are enough to make the butts very toxic for cold-blooded animals. The acute toxicity of cigarette butts to many animals is mainly due to their content of organic compounds; 14 of them are well known toxicants, mainly nicotine and ethylphenol. But other compounds (heavy metals, metalloids and radionuclides such as the very toxic polonium, radium, cesium) participate in ecosystem effects that have long been underestimated. This toxicity increases as the cigarette is smoked, and the butt is even more toxic if there is a bit of unburned tobacco in front of the filter. Certain pollutants such as furans or benzene (carcinogenic) come from the combustion of tobacco.
In a puddle, a cigarette butt releases on average 7.3 mg of nicotine per gram of cigarette butt, 50% of which is emitted in the first 27 minutes. For cigarette butts simply exposed to a cycle of 15 rains (1.4 mm each) the cumulative release of nicotine is 3.8 mg per gram of cigarette butt, with 47% of this nicotine released during the first rain. A single butt can thus contaminate 1,000 liters of water, pollute 1 cubic meter of snow at concentrations higher than the predicted no-effect dose which is only 2.4 × 10−3 mg L − 1 according to Valcárcel et al. (2011). The authors concluded that "given the quantity of cigarette butts discarded and given the speed at which they release their nicotine, they are to be considered as a significant threat for the quality of urban water and therefore for drinking water".
The runoff from the rains drains every year in our rivers 2 to 5 million cigarette butts which end up in the Mediterranean Sea. In 2011: 766,571 tonnes of cigarette butts were dumped in the environment in France. It takes 15 to 50 years for Nature to degrade a butt so nothing organic because during all these years it releases toxic substances!