Road traffic might be a major contributor to water pollution

Road traffic might be a major contributor to water pollution ...

Heavy traffic is often associated with air pollution, according to a new study conducted at U of T Scarborough. Water pollution is also a factor in this trend.

Chemicals commonly used in vehicle fluids, tires, and paints were significantly higher in rivers adjacent to roads with heavy traffic, according to a research.

According to a recent PhD student from the department of physical and environmental science, we found a strong connection between traffic and the concentration of these chemicals.

These roads appear to be a surprising source of a wide array of contaminants.

A series of samples were collected in mimico Creek (which runs through Brampton, Mississauga, and Toronto), and Little Rouge Creek (which runs through Whitchurch, Stoufville, Markham, and Scarborough), according to the study. Most contaminants found were found in Mimico Creek, which is situated next to roadways with heavy traffic.

Many of the 35 different contaminants found in the watersheds are from chemicals used in oils, lubricants, windshield de-icing fluids, tires, paints, and vehicle furniture. They end up in nearby watersheds because when they are emitted onto road surfaces they can be washed into nearby streams when it rains on their own or while being attached to road dust.

These contaminants are accessed in similar ways, suggesting that they are proven from a single, predominant source, namely road surfaces.

The researchers claim that these are non-contaminants we want in our water. Organophosphate esters, which are commonly added to various materials as flame retardants, have been identified to be harmful to aquatic organisms. Triphenyl phosphate, which is a type of organophosphate used in electronic equipment, vehicle interiors, and upholstery, has been linked to neurotoxicity in fish.

According to ProfessorFrank Wania, the scientist who authored the study, these contaminants contribute to what''s known as the urban stream syndrome, where rivers and watersheds are polluted from the urban stormwater run-off.

Urban waters in general are in good shape. They''re a whole slew of contaminants, according to Wania, an environmental chemist whose research focuses on how diverse organic pests end up in the environment.

He claims that even if the company analysed many chemicals as part of the study, it''s probably only a fraction of what''s in the water.

Places like the Mimico Creek are not very healthy bodies of water, and it would be extremely difficult for a healthy aquatic ecosystem to exist there.

The study, which is published in the journalEnvironmental Research Letters, has received funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

What can be done?

While some contaminants are directly related to burning fossil fuels, others found in paints, coatings, tire particles, and de-icing fluids are also used in electric vehicles.

Many of the contaminants used to fabricate automobiles can only be controlled on a larger scale by regulatory agencies and governments, according to Awonaike. Regular street sweeping can assist with collecting road dust before it gets flushed into water lines.

On an individual level, there are a number of activities that can assist.

Regular maintenance of your vehicle is important. She believes that fixing a leaky automobile or flaking paint chips is crucial.

You may also increase awareness about this topic. We cannot want these contaminants to end up in our water, where they can cause quite a bit of damage to aquatic ecosystems.

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