Plastics in the Mediterranean: a reality that threatens the European economy.
We are all responsible for this problem, but we are also responsible for changing it. For a long time, the plastics problem suffered by the Mediterranean has been announced and, although Greenpeace has warned about it, the state of the ocean does not improve. The other way around: it only gets worse. Let's change this together!
STATE OF THE MEDITERRANEAN
The figures estimate that 95% of the waste that inhabits the Mediterranean is plastic. This affects 134 marine species, including fish such as tuna, which we end up taking in our mouths, making it a vicious circle. Plastics are discarded in the Mediterranean, the species ingest it and store it in their stomachs, we fish them and eat them. This is how the planet's "vendetta" works towards our misguided actions.
We think they are figures that do not affect us, that they are from distant countries and this ... has nothing to do with reality: Spain is the second country that discards the most plastic waste in the Mediterranean. Every year, this waste is increased by 40% coming from tourists, which will affect them precisely when they cannot be able to take advantage of the beaches due to the amount of garbage and plastic that there will be. It will therefore affect tourism on the Mediterranean coast of Spain and its economy.
It's really worth it?
So, more than ever, you have to become aware. As easy as: generate less waste and most of it is easily recyclable or compostable. It is a healthier way to generate waste and to treat the planet more kindly.
HOW DID WE COME TO THIS
"An average of 8 million tons of plastic enters the seas every year worldwide, representing 80% of marine pollution," says Greenpeace.
Recycling is always beneficial, there is no doubt about that, but we must remember that we must also take into account the other two "Rs": reduce and reuse. Let's talk about reducing. I think it is essential that, first of all, we reduce our waste as much as we can, because we will have less to recycle and reuse. Think of the plastic. Many times it is not recycled even by depositing it in the yellow container, so it is important to reduce and reuse it before having to dispose of it.
Many of the plastics do not come alone, but come with cardboard, such as the example of the milk bricks or the "sacks" of the loaf of bread, made of paper and plastic. They are difficult to separate. This and the cost of recycling it well means that most do not recycle.
The figures tell us that 9% of the plastic generated worldwide has been recycled, 12% has been incinerated and 79% has ended up in landfills or in the environment. They are very ugly figures to digest. That is why it is so important to reduce the consumption of plastics, to save us all this "recycling" process. If we add to this that many plastics that end up in the Mediterranean come from landfills, sewers, wind currents, beaches and the odd other place, what are we left with? Exact. Lots of tons a year in our oceans.
The Mediterranean threatens to be another major source of plastic pollution. Do you realize how close we have it? As I already told you, we are currently, after Turkey, the ones that throw the most plastic waste into this ocean.
When these plastics reach the sea they take decades to degrade and even hundreds of years, such as fishing line, bottles, disposable cutlery or lighters. They spend all those years floating in the ocean, finally ending up on its beaches. It is already 72% plastics on the Spanish coast. Do we really want this? It is already well known that a large part of our coastal population feeds on tourism. We all know. Why do we play against us? The day will come when our beaches contain more plastic than foreigners sunbathing.
TYPES OF PLASTICS IN THE OCEANS
According to Greenpeace, the most abundant plastics are: polyethylene (PE) (eg: plastic bags, plastic sheets and films, containers (including bottles), cosmetic microspheres and abrasive products); polyester (PET) (eg bottles, containers, clothing, X-ray films, etc.); polypropylene (PP) (eg household appliances, garden furniture, vehicle components, etc.); and polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (eg pipes and fittings, valves, windows, etc.).
What types of plastics are there?
On the one hand, we have macro plastics, that is, plastics greater than 5mm. On the other, microplastics, which are less than 5mm.
Macroplastics drown our marine fauna, in the case of plastic bags or the plastic that holds our cans. Microplastics intoxicate our fish from within, which inadvertently eat it, since it is floating in the ocean. These microplastics remain in your guts, even after going through the fish market. Do you realize the problem ?
Actually let's put it this way, what will you do now, would you continue using plastic as you use to?