Apr 18, 2019 | Updated: 11:44 AM EDT

Scientists says Stream of Flanders So Polluted it May Be Used As Pesticide

Apr 13, 2019 02:59 PM EDT

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Pesticide in Water
(Photo : https://pixabay.com/photos/evening-twilight-ireland-landscape-1038148/)

EUROPE -- Scientists have been conducting tests in the rivers and streams of Europe to look into its cleanliness and potability. They discovered how dangerously polluted these waters are. In fact, the stream in Flanders has been dubbed as the "most polluted" in all of Europe that its water can be likened to that of a pesticide. Scientists believe that such pollution in water may be an effect of intensive farming practices.

Winding between the Flanders countryside and the green meadows, the Wulfdambeek stream is fondly remembered by its citizens to be the stream where athletes would fill their bottles with water to keep them hydrated for the game. However, recent studies conducted by researchers from the University of Exeter offered a strong reminder of how intense farming methods have caused the pollution of these waters and its changing the life and survival of farmers from the European countryside.

The report was published in the journal Science of the Total Environment. It identified the stream in the middle of a small picturesque village in Ledegem, 15 miles of Ypres, as a small but most polluted stream in all of Europe.

In a survey that includes 10 European countries and 29 of its small waterways, the sample taken from Wulfdambeek showed that there are 70 pesticides that can be hazardous to both the ecological balance in the area and human life as well. As a breakdown, there were about 38 were identified to kill weeds, 10 used to kill insects and 21 used to kill the fungi present in plants and animals. The pollutants in the stream are varied, but they all cause hazard to the community living around it.

"The mixture of these contaminants are incredible," Casado said, head of the research study from the Greenpeace Research Laboratories of the Exeter University. "Perhaps the most important thing to highlight is that there is no way we can tell how this mixture of dangerous elements have affected the ecosystem."

The mayor of the town, Bart Dochy, said that he was surprised about the results of the study. There are evidence of the presence of fish in the stream and they all assumed that it was a sign that it was perfectly fine. "We have set up some traps in the stream to catch the rats. Just last week before the results of the study came out, we caught a pike in it. The water may not be good enough to drink, but it is definitely good enough to live in as there is fish in it."

Dochy said that the government will be ordering that further tests be done to find out the source of these pollutants.

"The land in this area is pretty agricultural by nature. We grow vegetables in the area. The government wants to get to the bottom of the problem to understand what else can be done to save the stream and everyone else dependent on it," Dochy said.

The presence of pesticides and other contaminants in the area could bring about huge problems to the community. If they can't find the source of it, they can't stop it.

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