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This year’s Earth Day calls for a reduction in plastics production

Every year on 22 April, Earth Day commemorates the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. This year's theme is "Planet vs. Plastics". The campaign calls for ending the use of plastics to safeguard human and planetary health, and it proposes a 60% reduction in plastic production by 2040.

Scientists at the Veterinary Research Institute strive every day to push the frontiers of knowledge and conduct research aimed at addressing environmental problems linked to animal production in a sustainable manner. All scientific activities ensure that therapeutic and preventive activities in livestock farming align with European and global concepts supported by WHO/FAO/OIE. These are the principles of One Health, One Earth, and the European Green Deal, which focus on limiting the indiscriminate use of antibiotics in livestock and exploring the potential of replacing antibiotics with probiotic cultures. Part of the research also focuses on the impact of pollution of surface water by pharmaceutically active substances or microplastics on animal health.

For example, our Institute was awarded the Prize of Czech Minister of Agriculture for Young Scientists for our research results of the impact of microplastics in the aquatic environment and their influence on the life and health of fish. The first prize in this competition was awarded to MVDr. Nikola Hodkovicová, Ph.D. for her thesis entitled "Does oral intake of polyethylene microparticles affect the health of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss)? This thesis focused on defining the toxicity of microplastics contributing to the global pollution of water bodies. "Our experiment investigated the oral toxicity of polyethylene microparticles in rainbow trout and found potential passage of microparticles into body organs and disruption of fish health at several analytical levels. This may ultimately cause problems not only for the fish, but also for the target consumer," the author said.

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Damaged rainbow trout gill tissue after exposure to microplastics.