A new research shows that an endangered species of eels might have trouble carrying on reproducing if they keep on being jacked up on cocaine. Many societies struggle with ways on how to cope with illicit drugs but nobody looks at the downside impacts of how these drugs mix with the aquatic environment through poor waste water management.
In order to research, scientists pushed cocaine on eels found in European water kept in labs for 50 days in a row. It was done to monitor the impact of the drug on the fish. These eels have a very complex pattern of life. They spend around 15 to 20 years in fresh or brackish water and then cross the Atlantic Ocean to spawn in the Sargasso Sea. Some of the wild population in this category is considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This is because dams and other waterway changes block the migration of these eels, overfishing disrupts the population and water pollution impacts their health.
The eels are vulnerable to trace concentrations of cocaine, particularly in their early lives, according to the researchers of a study published in Science of the Total Environment.
“Data show a great presence of illicit drugs and their metabolites in surface waters worldwide,” says Anna Capaldo, a research biologist at the University of Naples Federico II and the lead author of the study. She adds that water near densely populated cities is even worse, with some research showing particularly high concentrations in the Thames River near London’s Houses of Parliament and in the Italian Amo River near Pisa of leaning tower fame. You can read more about the study in the link here and learn how illicit drugs are harming the aquatic life.
Image via master divers