SHARE
COPY LINK

MEDITERRANEAN

Mediterranean could become a ‘sea of plastic’, warns WWF

The Mediterranean could become a "sea of plastic", the WWF warned on Friday in a report calling for measures to clean up one of the world's worst affected bodies of water.

Mediterranean could become a 'sea of plastic', warns WWF
Photo: AFP

The WWF said the Mediterranean had record levels of “micro-plastics,” the tiny pieces of plastic less than five millimetres (0.2 inches) in size which can be found increasingly in the food chain posing a threat to human health.

“The concentration of micro-plastics is nearly four times higher” in the Mediterranean compared with open seas elsewhere in the world, said the report, “Out of the Plastic Trap: Saving the Mediterranean from Plastic Pollution.”

The problem, as all over the world, is simply that plastics have become an essential part of our daily lives while recycling only accounts for a third of the waste in Europe.

Plastic represents 95 percent of the waste floating in the Mediterranean and on its beaches, with most coming from Turkey and Spain, followed by Italy, Egypt and France, the report said.

To tackle the problem, there has to be an international agreement to reduce the dumping of plastic waste and to help clear up the mess at sea, the WWF said.

All countries around the Mediterranean should boost recycling, ban single-use plastics such as bags and bottles, and phase out the use of micro plastics in detergents or cosmetics by 2025.

The plastics industry itself should develop recyclable and compostable products made out of renewable raw materials, not chemicals derived from oil.

Individuals too have their role to play, making personal choices such as to use combs or kitchen utensils made of wood, not plastic, the WWF said.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

IMMIGRATION

162 migrants rescued off Libya land in Italy

Some 162 migrants rescued off the Libyan coast have disembarked in the southern Italian port of Taranto, the NGO SOS Mediterranee said Tuesday.

162 migrants rescued off Libya land in Italy
Photo: LOCALTEAM / AFP

The migrants, including 50 minors and five pregnant women, “were rescued by the SOS Mediterranee Search and Rescue team in two critical rescues in international waters off the coast of Libya on Friday, December 20th,” said the NGO, which charters the Ocean Viking rescue ship along with medical charity Doctors Without Borders.

The first operation involved a rubber dinghy that had deflated and was carrying 112 “terrified” people on board, it said.

Fifty others were plucked from a wooden boat shortly before midnight the same day “in dangerous meteorological and maritime conditions,” the NGO added.

READ: No migrant 'invasion': Italy's new interior minister

The 50 could not be transported to Malta due to adverse weather conditions.

Italian authorities then gave permission for all the rescued migrants to land in Taranto and the operation was carried out on Monday, SOS Mediterranee said. It described both rescue operations as “extremely difficult.”

“As the weather was rapidly and severely deteriorating, both cases would almost certainly have resulted in tragedies if help had arrived only a little later,” said Nicola Stalla, the NGO's search and rescue coordinator onboard the Ocean Viking.

Italy renewed a widely criticised 2017 agreement in October with the Libyan coastguard to block migrants trying to leave for Europe.

Rights groups say Libya routinely picks up migrants in the Mediterranean and brings them back to overcrowded detention centres, where many have been victims of abuse and forced labour.

Libya, wracked by conflict since the 2011 uprising against Moamer Kadhafi, has become a major transit route for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa and elsewhere hoping to reach Europe.

SHOW COMMENTS