Researching plastics in UK national parks

Ben Fox
Ben Fox

A scientific expedition has been launched to investigate plastic pollution in all the UK’s national parks, following the discovery of microplastics at the top of Snowdon.

An outdoor swimmer, a scientist and an environmental organisation have teamed-up to test the water at some of the country’s most iconic locations.

The expedition will see campaigner Laura Sanderson swim nearly 1,000km through all fifteen of the UK’s national parks.

She will collect hundreds of water samples, which will be analysed at Bangor University in North Wales. Laura was inspired to organise the challenge after an initial swim she undertook last year found microplastics in Llyn Glaslyn at the very top of Snowdon, England and Wales’ highest mountain.

Laura said: “Last year we swam 26 km from a lake at the top of Snowdon down the river system all the way to the coast. We were horrified when we were told the water samples we’d collected along the way had microplastics in them.

‘So now we want to see just how widespread the problem is and look at waterways in all our national parks. I’m hoping to start soon and so I’m training pretty much every day.”

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