A day after a scientist attached to the Goa-based National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) confirmed the presence of microplastics in government tap water in various parts of the state, the top marine research institute in a clarification on Thursday said that the study conducted along with a consultancy firm was preliminary in nature and “firm conclusions on the risk associated with ingestion of microplastic particles through drinking-water” could not be determined.

The clarification was issued by the NIO, along with an official statement from the Chief Minister’s office on Thursday, which also questioned the authenticity of the study, adding that the state government had not been officially contacted during the research.

“The report only indicates the presence of microplastics in tap water and in water reservoirs. The findings of the current report does not make any assessment on the quality of drinking water… Although this study is made on the tap water collected from Goa but presence of microplastics can be identified in tapwaters from other states and cities too,” the NIO said in its clarification on Thursday.

“The sole purpose of the study is academic and finding scientific data. We have just reported the preliminary study based on a one time sample collection. Based on this limited body of evidence, firm conclusions and the risk associated with ingestion of microplastic particles through drinking-water cannot yet be determined,” the report states, adding that the “no data suggests overt health concerns associated with exposure to microplastic particles through drinking-water”.

On Wednesday, NIO scientist Mahua Saha, along with a research consulting agency, Delhi-based ‘Toxic Links’ at a press conference had said that 26 types of polymers were detected in samples sourced from tap water and treatment plants in Goa, which raised serious concerns about exposure of microplastic exposure for the residents of the state.

In a statement, the Chief Minister’s Office has questioned the authenticity of the study’s findings, basis and methodology.

“The research agency nor Dr. Mahua Saha during their research study never approached this Department and the findings of their research study was also not shared with the Department and why Goa was selected for the study is also surprising,” the CMO statement said.

“Hence, the authenticity of this team led by Dr. Mahua needs to be looked upon and the team has to indicate/inform the reasons why testing was not carried out in other states and also for bottled water and what are their future plans,” the statement said.

–IANS

maya/pgh

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