Pollution has been the topic of many conversations for a while as we discover just how badly we have damaged the Earth with all of the plastic we use. One of the easiest ways to reduce our plastic usage is to swap out plastic shopping bags with material ones or even just say no to straws at restaurants. But pollution reaches a whole new level when the eels in the rivers get high off of your second-hand cocaine.
No, you're not misreading that! Scientists in Britain found traces of drugs in Britain's rivers after people flush, meaning that the drugs are coming from people's toilets. Even if you're not flushing your stash down the toilet so that your parents won't find it, there are still traces of it in your urine which effect the eels, making them more... energetic. As bizarre as this sounds, researchers are worried that this will start killing thousands of eels as the drugs collect on their brains, muscles, gills and other tissues causing injuries.
Science of the Total Environment published the study that stated, “This study shows that even low environmental concentrations of cocaine cause severe damage to the morphology and physiology of the skeletal muscle of the silver eel, confirming the harmful impact of cocaine in the environment that potentially affects the survival of this species.”
Research done by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction showed that London's sewage contained the highest concentration of cocaine out of the whole of Europe, with a daily concentration of 737mg per 1,000 people.
Scientists are still unsure of the full ecological implication of the drugs but have been noticing changes in the eel population, showing signs of muscle breakdown and swelling, which had not healed 10 days after they were removed from the drug-contaminated water. Eels were also unable to perform their reproductive functions as normal causing the eel population to decline by 90% since the 1980's according to the IUCN “red list” of threatened species. Scientists say that the cocaine may alter the main functions of all of the marine animals.
Scientists have been seeing traces of cocaine, amphetamines and ecstasy, and the concentration has risen in the last couple of years with reports that even the water tested positive for cocaine. No wonder people who drink a lot of London's water claim to have so much energy!