Plastic with your salt
By Dave Jones A STUDY has revealed the presence of microplastics in table salt extracted from the seas around Spain.
The report has been published by three scientists from the chemical engineering department of Alicante University.
They note that microplastics are small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long which can be harmful to aquatic life and the seas in general.
The scientists studied samples taken from salt works in Galicia, Huelva, Cádiz, Barcelona, Girona, Valencia, Murcia, Menorca, La Palma and Lanzarote, with their analysis carried out between September last year and June.
They found that all the salt contained microplastics, with levels ranging from between 60 to 280 microparticles per kilo.
The sea salt production method is one that has been been used for hundreds of years and which sees water taken from the sea and left to evaporate in the sun, leaving crystalised salt.
The Alicante scientists - María Íñiguez, Juan Conesa and Andrés Fullana - noted that their study proves that the seas are ‘deeply contaminated’ by plastics.
It backs up research carried out in China in 2015 which also found microplastics in sea salt from that area.
Ecologists have been warn- ing for years over the thousands of tonnes of plastics which end up in the seas each day and the damage this is causing, particularly to whales, dolphins and turtles.
Scientists have calculated that between 4.8 and 12.7 million tonnes of plastics end up in the sea each year.
The Alicante study may encourage consumers to purchase salt which originates from ‘inland’ lagoons such as those in Torrevieja and Santa Pola.
Torrevieja salt works launched a campaign earlier this year with the coalition council to promote the sale of its product, which previously had not been widely available in Spain as much of the salt went to northern Europe to be used on winter roads.
They noted that Torrevieja table salt is now available in local supermarkets such as Carrefour. The product’s label includes a logo for ‘Salinas de Torrevieja’ and also La Mata-Torrevieja natural park.
Table salt extracted from Torrevieja's lagoon could now be in demand after microplastics were found in sea salt