Leader comment: Why filling potholes with plastic may not be good idea

It may sound like good news that tests could be carried out in Fife to find out if potholes can be filled with waste plastic.

Recycled plastic bottles and other waste could be used to fill potholes

Potholes are, after all, a significant problem for every road user and recycling waste is clearly worthwhile.

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However, a key part of any trial must be to assess how much of this plastic will end up being washed away into the natural world.

Plastic in the paint used to make road markings is already getting into our rivers and lochs, judging by a study published in the journal Marine Pollution Bulletin.

The researchers found an average of 66 pieces of microplastic in every 100 grams of sediment in the most polluted site out of four tested in the Thames Valley, with 18.5 particles per 100 grams in the cleanest site in a rural area. Many of the fragments were found to have come from road markings.

Plastic pollution of the sea – much of it originating from the land – has become a serious issue and we must make sure we are reducing, not increasing, the the supply.

The UK and Scottish governments have already taken steps in the right direction, the authorities in Fife must make sure they do the same.