The model developed showed a reasonable ability to reproduce the observed distributions of plastics in the marine environment, and it is of concern in the Mediterranean Sea.
The Mediterranean Sea is one of the main options we have when it comes to spending the summer and going to the beach, but it is also the hot spot in regards to to plastic pollution due to its densely populated coastline and its limited connection to the Atlantic Ocean.
Now a new study published in Frontiers in Marine Science has used a model to determine that there are around 3,760 metric tons of plastic in the MediterraneanThey point out from Ecowatch.
“The model developed showed a reasonable ability to reproduce the observed distributions of plastics in the marine environment and, therefore, can be used to assess the current state of plastic pollution in the Mediterranean,” says the study’s lead author, Dr. Dr. Kostas Tsiaras, of the Hellenic Center for Marine Research.
And it is that scientists already know that the plastic pollution of the Mediterranean is evident, and yet the World Wide Fund for Nature already declared in 2018 that the Mediterranean coasts ran the risk of becoming a sea of plastic with great consequences for marine life and also for all human communities in the region.
Another obvious concern of this study is the way microplastics can be ingested by smaller animals and microorganisms, subsequently moving up the food web to larger and larger animals, including humans.
However, he affirms that microplastics “also enter the human diet through shellfish, the most likely pathways being in mussels, clams and small pelagic fish that are commonly consumed without eliminating the digestive tract where they are concentrated. micro plastics ”, explains the scientist.
And it is that this type of models that simulates the movement of the destination of plastic marine litter provide essential tools to be able to predict the areas of accumulation of plastic litter.
So with that, the team of researchers devised a model to determine where land-based plastic pollution ends when it enters the Mediterranean Sea.
With this they considered that the plastic comes from runoff from rivers, the discharge of sewage from coastal cities and general plastic pollution from human activities such as beach tourism and aquaculture.
Of the total mass of plastics entering the Mediterranean according to the model, around 84% end up on the beaches, while the remaining 16% ends up in the water column and sinks to the seabed.