Medicines for domestic use such as ibuprofen, endocrine disruptors and drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, are some of the "emerging pollutants" that have been found in Spanish rivers in recent years, according to various experts consulted by EFE.
Consumption"Increasingly accused" of drugs "not only in Spain, but in most western countries ", argues the director of the IMDEA-Agua institute, Eloy García, has caused a recent contamination of surface waters due to these substances.
According to a publication from Harvard Medical College, our bodies metabolize only part of most of the drugs we consume, while the rest are expelled and therefore end up in drains and surface waters.
García explains that "current treatment plants were designed to eliminate organic matter and pathogens" but maintains that they are not prepared to eliminate substances of such low concentration, "simply because twenty years ago this situation did not happen".
"Minimal" but "revealing" presence of contaminants
The presence of these pollutants in Spanish waters is “on the order of one part per billion or per trillion ”, that is to say,"It would be like looking for seven people in the entire world population"García points out, so he considers that"Today, it is not a real problem."
However, the professor of Chemical Engineering, Arturo Romero, thinks that it is something “developer", well "it tells us the amount of ibuprofen we consume so that they end up in our rivers ”.
In addition to drugs, other drugs such as cocaine and heroin make fun of the purifying plants, although the levels of these substances are also "very low," says Romero.
García also maintains that, in any case, it is a matter that"We must have controlled", since, if in the long term these pollutants continue to accumulate,"They can end up affecting the health of rivers and their ecosystems", He argues, and adds that this fact worries"especially to the population of California, in the USA ”.
In Europe, France and Germany have already launched various investigations to address this issue, says the engineer, and argues that, in Spain, IMDEA studied some of the treatment plants in different regions, after which it verified"An enormous variability in the concentration levels of these substances between some treatment plants and others".
Other ways to pollute
In addition to ingestion, the Harvard Medical College ensures that the inappropriate disposal of expired pills, which are thrown down the toilets and sinks instead of collection points for drug remains, contributes to this "pharmaceutical contamination".
Also, this agency of the American university points out that some pharmaceutical products for cutaneous application, such as creams and lotions, whose remains"Not absorbedThey end up contaminating surface waters.