Picture a river closest to you, now imagine that river being polluted with antibiotics making it unsafe for consumption. According to scientists, that is the situation of our world today as rivers worldwide are polluted with antibiotics that exceed safety thresholds.
About 711 samples were taken from rivers in 72 countries, and scientists found one or more common antibiotics in two-thirds of the number.
Drugs used to fight off infections in people and livestock were found to have exceeded safety levels set by AMR Industry Alliance.
Ciprofloxacin, a popular drug used to treat intestinal and urinary tract infections exceeded industry standard at 51 sites visited
Metronidazole, another popular antibiotic was 300 times above limit in one location in Bangladesh.
“The results are quite eye-opening and worrying, demonstrating the widespread contamination of river systems around the world with antibiotic compounds,” Alistair Boxall, a scientist at the York Environmental Sustainability Institute, said in a statement.
The widespread presence of antibiotics not only impacts wildlife but likely contributes to the problem of antimicrobial resistance
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the world is running out of antibiotics that still work, and has called on industry and governments to urgently develop a new generation of drugs.
Discovered in the 1920s, antibiotics have saved tens of millions of lives from pneumonia, tuberculosis, meningitis and a host of deadly bacteria.
Overuse and misuse of the drugs are thought to be the main causes of antimicrobial resistance.