A study by the French Research Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea found in 2015 the presence of 300 waste per square kilometer in the Mediterranean; in 1990 there were “only” 100 per square kilometer.
According to other research, the Black Sea is twice as polluted as the Mediterranean Sea.
The amount of waste and scrap in the Mediterranean Sea has tripled in the last 25 years : according to a study by the Institut français de recherche pour l’exploitation de la mer ( Ifremer ), the concentration of pollutants in Mare Nostrum has increased by 100 per square kilometer in 1990 to 300 per square kilometer in 2015.
A rapid escalation, according to Ifmer researchers: the presence of polluting objects in the Mediterranean doubled between 1990 and 2012 (from 100 to 200 per km / 2) to reach 300 in 2015. This trend is explained by the increase in the production and consumption of plastic, but also by the increased control of water imposed by the EU Framework Directive on the strategy of the marine environment. By comparison, the North Sea is 6 times less polluted, with “only” 50 pieces of garbage per square kilometer.
The 20-year Ifmer report notes that around 60% of Mediterranean seabed pollution is due to plastic objects, with higher concentrations near ports such as Marseille or northern Corsica.
Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, of which at least 200 thousand tons only in the Mediterranean Sea. An estimate from a recent WWF study that nearly 600,000 tonnes of plastic end up in the Mediterranean basin each year.
Few projects have the objective of recovering polluting objects in our seas. At the beginning of June, Ispra announced the results of the ML-REPAIR program, active in the northern Adriatic with the support of the Chioggia Marine Company: in just 10 months and thanks to the support of the fishermen, who were allowed to return the waste between its grounded nets, 14 tons of waste were recovered, including thousands of plastic objects.
The sad record of the Mediterranean is disputed by the Black Sea, another closed sea polluted by the influx of some of the most polluted rivers on the continent such as the Danube and the Dnestr: according to the latest research from the EMBLAS-Plus project, the monitoring program of the waters north of the Bosphorus promoted by the United Nations and the EU, the amount of pollutants present in the Black Sea would be almost double that registered in the Mediterranean.
In this case, however, the estimates are much lower than those of Ifmer: according to EMBLAS scholars, the Black Sea would register a concentration of 90.5 waste per square kilometer, compared to 50 per kilometer and a half in the Mediterranean.
Even for the small basin beyond the Bosphorus Strait, plastic is enemy number one: the report claims that 83% of the waste found is represented by bottles, packaging and plastic bags.
The percentage of substances dangerous to human health is also worrying : in fish samples taken in the Black Sea, traces of benzo (a) pyrene, pesticides, insecticides, mercury and products have been found above the limits recommended by the WHO. flame retardant. A total of 124 chemicals hazardous to the marine ecosystem and human health were identified, including persistent organic pollutants, metals, pesticides, biocides, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, industrial pollutants and products for the personal care.