University lecturer warns of microplastics in catfish, banga, butterfish


University of Guyana lecturer Mark Ram on Tuesday warned of the presence of microplastics in commonly eaten fishes in Guyana, namely catfish, banga and butterfish.

Presenting the findings of research done on fishes collected at Vreed-en-hoop (West Bank Demerara), Meadow Bank (East Bank Demerara), and Rosignol (West Coast Berbice), Mr Ram said the highest concentration of microplastics was found in catfish.

As a result, he said persons should wash the fish properly before cooking, noting that sometimes we are not too careful about a thorough wash before boiling up what is known as “braff”.

“These findings are very significant because it is showing us that, yes, there are microplastics in fishes, and if it is we aren’t cleaning these fishes properly – we know some persons might just make a broth, they may boil these just like that without cleaning them properly – we can be exposed to contamination,” Ram said at a conference held at the University at Turkeyen.

Mark Ram, a lecturer attached to the Faculty of Natural Sciences (Photo: News Room/ June 6, 2023)

He was careful to note that what has been proven “as yet” is whether the microplastics have accumulated in the tissues, “and we could potentially be ingesting these plastics which also have many health risks for us as humans.”

For marine animals, microplastics, fibers originating from synthetic textile products, are consumed mistakenly for prey.

“In terms of the different species, we found that the catfish had the highest abundance of microplastics.

“Of all the plastic we accumulated, over 70 per cent were found in the catfish in comparison to the other two,” Ram stated.

Ram noted that “microplastics are tiny fragments and though we may not see them in our fishes, they do have the ability to accumulate in our food.”

He added: “We’re already seeing that microplastics are being found everywhere – our food, our water, our soil and even our blood streams.”




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