Microplastics are most common waste found along Mediterranean coast, study says
Polyethylene used to make plastic shopping bags and cling film forms most of plastic found in coastal waters, according to marine scientists from University of Barcelona
Microplastics from shopping bags and clingfilm are the most common type of waste found in Mediterranean coastal waters, research shows.
Polyethylene makes up over half the plastic (54.5 per cent) found along the Mediterranean coast of Spain, according to a study by the Research Group on Marine Geosciences at the University of Barcelona.
This type of plastic is most commonly used to make plastic shopping bags and clingfilm.
Polypropylene (16.5 per cent) – used in rigid plastic packaging such as bottles – was the second-most common plastic found, followed by polyester (9.7 per cent) which is used in clothing, furnishings and textiles.
Some areas around the coastal peninsular had maximum concentrations of up to 500,000 microplastics per square kilometre.
One of the study’s authors, Dr William de Haan, a marine scientist at the University of Barcelona, said: “These results coincide with studies conducted in other regions of the Mediterranean, a marine ecosystem regarded as one of the biggest scuppers of floating microplastic worldwide.”
The study focused on the coasts of Catalonia, Murcia and Almeria in Spain.
The most extreme levels of microplastics were found around Tordera and Besos – areas with high levels of pollution due to the high density of population, tourism, use of beaches and marine activities.
Polyethylene made up two-thirds (65 per cent) of the ocean microplastics found in these areas of the coast.
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