Plastic pollution in the Mediterranean is a huge problem with its densely populated coastline, dozens of countries that are connected to it, and the lack of access to the Atlantic Ocean.
According to a study published in Frontiers in Marine Science, a total amount of ∼3,842 tonnes of plastics was estimated to be floating at sea (∼3,760 tonnes) or in the water column (∼82 tonnes), averaged from the 8-year simulation.
As reported by EcoWatch, scientists already know that plastic pollution in the Mediterranean is a major problem. In 2018, WWF warned that the body of water famous for its beaches and seafood risked becoming a “sea of plastic,” which made up 95 percent of the trash polluting its waters and beaches. This has serious consequences for the region’s marine life and human communities.
One big concern in marine life, even on the smallest level, is the ingesting of these microplastics and the entangling of themselves, which affects the food chain for larger animals and humans.
“Microplastics enter also the human diet through seafood, the most likely pathways being mussels, clams and small pelagic fish, which are commonly consumed without removing digestive tracts, where microplastics are concentrated,” says Dr. Kostas Tsiaras of the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research.
A number of governments and intergovernmental organizations are trying to address this issue with policies and treaties that would hold companies and nations responsible for the plastic they use, transport and discard. But as of yet, none of these efforts seem to be stemming the tide of plastic steadily pouring into the Mediterranean, reports Mongabay.
“The concentration [of plastic pollution] in the Med is pretty bad. If we don’t act on it, it will [become] much worse,” says Lucile Courtial, executive director of Monaco-based NGO Beyond Plastic Med.