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Wednesday, 13 December 2017

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Mediterranean might soon have as much plastic as fish, Expert warns

05 December 2017

The Mediterranean problem could get so bad that its waters might end up holding as much plastic litter as fish, according to a European Expert.

The Mediterranean is already known as one of the world’s most polluted seas.

“Right now, out of every three kilogrammes of fish taken from the sea, there is one kilogramme of plastic,’’ Spanish diplomat, Miguel Garcia-Herraiz, told dpa.

“The estimations are that by 2030, it could be one kilogramme of fish, one kilogram of plastic.’’

Garcia-Herraiz is deputy secretary general at the Union for the Mediterranean (UpM), an EU-backed regional cooperation forum, which met last week in Naples, Italy.

He is responsible for water and environmental issues.

While public awareness about plastic pollution at sea is growing, “we still have relatively little data in the Mediterranean on the real scale of it, the consequences for the health of the fauna, the flora, and even of humans,’’ he said.

The diplomat said most of the pollution is caused by “single-use’’ plastic such as bags and bottles, which slowly erode and turn into microplastics that end up in fish, as well as in urban drinking water.

Microplastics pollution also stems from microbeads tiny pieces of polyethylene plastic added to toothpaste and cosmetics for scrubbing purposes, and which are not big enough to be filtered by water treatment systems.

Earlier in 2017, environmental lobby Greenpeace released a report estimating that 96 per cent of floating litter sampled in the Mediterranean is plastic, and is present at depths of up to 3,000 metres.