Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Plastic in the Mediterranean Sea

Although the Mediterranean Sea represents less than 1% of the global ocean area, it contains 7% of the total quantity of microplastics. More than half a million tonnes of plastic are discarded into the sea every year, equivalent to 33,800 half-litre PET bottles thrown away every minute – a report published by the WWF on June 8, World Oceans Day, revealed.

The WWF report entitled “Stop the Flood of Plastic – How Mediterranean countries can save their sea” features some alarming figures: each kilometre of the Mediterranean coastline receives more than 5 kg of marine waste every single day.

The most polluted area within the
region is in southern Turkey, but Barcelona, Venice, Tel-Aviv,
Valencia and the Bay of Marseille
are all among the most polluted sections of coast.

More than half the plastic manufactured becomes waste within less than one year of production. Marine waste generates 641 million euros of costs for the tourism, shipping and fishing industries.

Companies around the Mediterranean produce 38 million tonnes of plastic objects each year for sale, but they do not pay the costs of this excessive production of waste. What’s more, making plastic is cheap, so these companies do not endeavour to use recycled plastic or alternative materials instead for their products. Governments and local municipalities still don’t manage 28% of their waste appropriately.

Along with manufacturers, governments and authorities, tourists also have plenty of scope for improvement: they produce more than 24 million tonnes of plastic waste each year in the Mediterranean region, and the amount of waste increases by 30% in seaside cities during the summer.

“Every second breath we take is provided by the oceans, and they also absorb a quarter of the carbon dioxide we emit, so healthy seas are indispensable for our future welfare.
It is our shared responsibility to protect our seas,”

said Alexa Antal, Head of Communication at WWF Hungary.

At seaside resorts, the amount of waste generated increases by 30% during the summer due to tourism Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: BBC

Hungarian water treatment plant in Vietnam

It was announced in 2010 that the Vietnamese government would like to build a water treatment plant in Central Vietnam. Hungary is famous for its water treatment technology so they decided on a Hungarian partner.

The Biopolus BioMakery in the Netherlands

The Trappist monks of Koningshoeven Abbey have been brewing beer since 1881, and in recent years, they have also been baking bread and making chocolate, honey and cheese. The water to be treated is the wastewater from these brewing and manufacturing activities, together with the municipal wastewater from the Abbey and the visiting centre.

Over two tonnes of golf balls collected from Monterey Bay

Specialists believe almost 30 kilograms of microplastics has eroded from such a quantity of golf balls into the water.

Algal blooms grow more severe in the great lakes of the world

Over the last three decades, summer algal blooms in all large fresh-water lakes around the world have grown more severe – this is the conclusion of a global study, the longest ever of its kind, conducted by researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science and NASA. 

The Pacific cleanup may succeed

The system created by a Dutch inventor called System 101, whose first trial run, conducted a year ago, had failed, has started collecting plastic waste on the Pacific again.

Hungarian innovation to filter pharmaceutical residues

Many studies worldwide have shown that the active compounds of medications are released into the environment with wastewater and can easily be reintroduced into the human food chain from there. Filtering these residues out is an increasingly acute concern, but, thankfully, the world of science has already responded to the problem.

Garbage from Asia has inundated an island in the middle of the Atlantic

Researchers from Canada and Africa have found a massive amount of plastic bottles, originating form Asia, mainly from China, on Inaccessible Island, located in the South Atlantic Ocean. The bottles were probably discarded into the water and then washed up on the island from cargo ships passing the region.

Pharmaceutical residues in Hungarian waters

In Hungary, too, the active ingredients of various medications are discharged continuously into the environment with wastewater, so they can now be detected in surface and underground waters as well as in soils.

What can we do against pharmaceutical residues in our waters?

After being introduced into human and animal organisms, some pharmaceutical compounds are secreted via urine unchanged, and then, through wastewater, those compounds may reach surface waters that serve as drinking water supplies, representing a risk for both aquatic ecosystems and for the purity of drinking water.

Microplastics from an unexpected source

We’ve known for a long time that plastic food packaging, wearing car tyres and clothing made of synthetic fibres are all sources of microplastic pollution. However, a new study has identified a new source of pollution in our kitchens, or more precisely in our teacups.