Swiss Junior Water Prize 2020

First Evidence of Microplastics in the Waters of the Upper Engadine in Switzerland

By Anna Sidonia Marugg

The objective of this study was to find out whether microplastic particles can be found at 8 locations in the Upper Engadine with different population densities, types of land use, and distances to the source of the river Inn at Lake Lunghin, a remote location in a major European watershed. A wooden, low-cost, light, easily transportable self-constructed LADI-trawl was used for sampling. Plastic residues were detected in all locations, and the found particles were assigned to 22 different types of plastics, showing that seemingly remote regions and sparsely populated areas are affected by microplastic pollution. The findings of this research are of key importance for alpine regions, as evidence of plastic was found at over 2400 meters above sea level.

Project video