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Water companies hold the key to reversing climate change

Scientists have claimed one simple solution to reverse climate change is for water companies to stop the chemicals reaching the oceans that destroy plankton.

Plankton are the most important tiny ocean plants, absorbing huge amounts of the "greenhouse gas" carbon dioxide (CO2) being produced by humans, use as their food and produce oxygen for us.

But plankton is disappearing at ever-increasing rates because of toxic chemicals and microplastic pollution leaking from wastewater treatment plants into our oceans.

If water companies around the world installed simple treatment systems to prevent this leakage it would counteract the damage being done by man-made CO2 emissions.

Dr Howard Dryden, a marine biologist at the Global Oceanic Environmental Survey, said: “Saving plankton is our most important, but forgotten, climate change solution.

“A clean ocean with healthy plankton will absorb twice the CO2 it does today - from 12 to 24 billion (giga) tonnes per year.

“This will almost neutralise current human-related CO2 emissions accumulated in the atmosphere, estimated to be 16-17 billion (giga)tonnes per year.  35 Giga tonnes are produced in total.

“Plankton is being wiped out by the toxic chemicals we use every day, and matters are made worse when these chemicals combine with plastic pollution.  Each and every one of us is contributing to the problem every day, because these chemicals are contained in the products we use to clean our homes and ourselves.”

“But, by implementing cheap and simple technology water companies can play a big role in stopping the killing of our plankton.”

Plankton are really tiny, but if they are in healthy ocean conditions with lots of food around, their numbers can multiply rapidly and they’ll use more carbon dioxide then trees and produce the oxygen we breath.  It’s plankton that regulate our atmosphere, but now that we’ve killed off half of them, there is nothing else as effective draw in the carbon dioxide fuelling climate change – even if we all had EV’s or wind turbines, it won’t be enough to address the crisis.

Plankton was absorbing around 50% of human-caused CO2 emissions, but the very bad news, according to scientists at NASA, we are losing 1% of the earth’s plankton every year.

Dr Dryden added: “If water treatment companies and their shareholders, could take the simple step of removing toxic chemicals and microplastics at the end of their processes, they could be everyone’s superheros and help the oceans recover.”