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.
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.
said Alexa Antal, Head of Communication at WWF Hungary.
Scientists have studied the cetaceans washed ashore over the last twenty years. The saddest case was that of a 5.3 metre young sperm whale found on the island of Mykonos: it had swallowed 135 pieces of plastic weighing 3.2 kg in total.
Environmentalists removed more than 40 tonnes of plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, says a CNN news report.
The patches of plastic that look like used chewing gum are not only indications of the amount of waste accumulating in the oceans, they also represent a risk for the organisms that live and feed on the rocks.
More than two billion people worldwide have no access to safely managed clean drinking water, while more than four billion people do not have adequate sanitation services, according to a report announced in Geneva by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).
On the 15th of June, 633 divers put on their diving suits and oxygen tanks and dove underwater by the shore of Deerfield Beach in Florida – to pick up litter.
In addition to climate change and global warming, the continuous production of inconceivable amounts of waste is also endangering our environment, and most of that waste consists of single-use plastics.
Dead zone areas in the region are not new phenomena, but in 2019, the area affected by hypoxia, a condition of low oxygen that can no longer support any form of life has grown much larger than expected, and the cause is likely to be human activities.
An unexpected problem associated with the pollution of lakes came into focus last January, when a highly polluted lake in India caught fire because of the massive quantities of waste in it – and according to locals, it was not first time, either.
The severe pollution of waters is an increasingly alarming problem, with many places around the world having no access to clean drinking water, which may have tragic consequences. In 2018, the Chinese artist Brother Nut put on a special exhibition to bring attention to the damage caused by water pollution.
There are areas in the oceans that have no oxygen and are completely unsuitable for the formation and the sustaining of any kind of life – they are the so-called dead zones. A new study has shown that their number is much greater than previously thought.