It’s no secret that plastic waste pollutes the world’s oceans. Most people think of litter in the ocean depths first – so the result of a Swiss study is surprising.
BERN (dpa) – Videos of huge swirls of plastic waste at sea regularly frighten the public – but according to a Swiss study, most plastic waste ends up near the coast.
said Viktor Unink of the Uesger Center for Climate Research at the University of Bern. Six years ago, scientists estimated that up to 13 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean each year.
A lot of the plastic will be washed up on the beach again, Onink said. He is the lead author of the study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. According to calculations, at least a third of the plastic that is washed into the sea is stranded again. This has dire consequences for the environment, as coastal ecosystems are particularly sensitive to plastic pollution. It also affects tourism.
According to Onink, the Mediterranean is particularly polluted for two reasons, he says: On the one hand, a lot of plastic enters the Mediterranean, especially through the Nile. On the other hand, this sea is relatively small and closed. According to the model’s calculations from Bern, it would be more effective to collect plastic waste before washing it at sea than trying to pick it up later at sea. “The concentration of plastic is relatively low in the open ocean,” he said.
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