The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has been urging tourists to minimize their usage of plastic, particularly in the Mediterranean that has been turning into a ‘sea of plastic’ owing to inefficient waste management and excessive plastic use.
In a brand new report, WWF mentioned that plastic pollution in the Mediterranean is a direct peril to wildlife, human health as well as economic activity.
The organization has been urging government, industry and citizens to resort to immediate action to cut down on the amount of plastic entering the sea. The report was released on Friday was on Friday and it coincides with World Oceans Day.
Each day an estimated 730 tonnes of plastic waste enter the Mediterranean Sea as reported by a leading news media platform.
A major portion of the waste come from Spain and Turkey followed by Italy, Egypt and France. Summer tourists, estimated at over 200 million are responsible for a 40% rise in litter entering the Mediterranean, majority of which is plastic as per the WWF.
WWF leaders warned of the negative effects this is having on society and the environment.
John Tanzer who is the leader of WWF International’s oceans program feels that the impact of plastic pollution in the Mediterranean are also experienced across the world and wreaking havoc on human and nature health overall.
After China, Europe is the world’s second largest producer of plastic. The continent generates 27 million tonnes of plastic waste per year, only a third of which is recycled.
As per report, Europe dumps as much as 500,000 tonnes of macroplastics and 130,000 tonnes of microplastics in the sea each year.
The Mediterranean is home to nearly 25,000 plant and animal species, nearly two-thirds of which are unique to the region. Microplastics, debris less than five millimetres in length, can be eaten by fish or other marine animals, such as mussels and oysters, which are then consumed by humans.
The report warned that an average person in Europe who eats shellfish could consume up to 11,000 pieces of microplastic each year. However, it is currently unknown whether these plastic particles are harmful to humans.