Posted on 08 June 2018
Record levels of pollution from microplastics threaten marine species, fisheries activities and human health.
A new report from the WWF finds record levels of pollution from microplastics in the Mediterranean Sea are now higher than those in the oceanic ‘garbage patches’ and are threatening marine species, fisheries activities and human health in the region. Launched to coincide with World Oceans Day, June 8 2018, the report presents a detailed roadmap of the urgent action needed to stop plastic waste from reaching the sea.
The study brings together the most recent data on plastic use in Europe and scientific evidence on the many ways in which it negatively impacts marine life. Plastic represents 95% of the waste in Mediterranean waters and on its beaches today, with over 130 different marine species known to have ingested plastic. Not only are the consequences of marine litter severe for wildlife, but there are significant economic consequences. The EU fishing fleet currently suffers an estimated annual economic loss of € 61.7 million due to reduced catch and damage to vessels.
Europe (EU-28, Norway and Switzerland) is the world’s second largest plastic producer after China. In 2016, it produced 60 million tonnes of plastic, generating 27 million tonnes of plastic waste. WWF is urging governments to adopt of a legally-binding international agreement to eliminate plastic discharge into the oceans, supported by strong national targets to achieve 100 per cent plastic waste recycled and reusable by 2030 and national bans on single-use plastic items such as bags.