For past 3 years numerous experts from seven countries of the Adriatic-Ionian region (Slovenia, Italy, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Greece, Albania) worked under the project DeFishGear.
DeFishGear Project originated as a response to the need for effective dealing with the issue of marine litter in the Adriatic MacroRegion, towards litter free coasts and sea. It aims to facilitate the efforts of policy makers and stakeholders in effective dealing with the issue of marine litter in the Adriatic.
The strategy behind DeFishGear’s combat against negative impacts of marine litter is organized around sharing scientific knowledge and obtaining accurate, coherent and comparable scientific data that will ultimately allow the implementation of coordinated and multi-sectoral actions aimed at effective tackling of marine litter in the Adriatic region.
Finally the Adriatic region has its first assessment of marine litter based on data collected and actions performed in pilot areas, better knowledge on micro plastic pollution and its effects on marine life. And the results are unfortunately very worrying and confirm what I was saying the whole summer: Adriatic sea is full of plastic!
Most marine waste was found on Zaglav beach on the island of Vis, where they collected a total of 34,539 pieces of marine waste, of which 97 percent were synthetic polymeric materials. Most common objects found were pieces of synthetic polymers, or plastics and styrofoam from 2.5 to 50 cm, plastic from earbuds (which people still through into the toilet), plastic caps …
Scientists fear that chemicals in plastics and also chemicals which attach themselves to plastic in the natural environment could cause poisoning, infertility and genetic disruption in marine life, and potentially in humans if ingested in high quantities.
People could even be breathing in plastic microparticles suspended in the air, with the risk of a noxious effect on the lungs similar to car fumes.
Plastic in Croatian fish
The analysis showed that the fish had in their stomachs pieces of plastics between 0.3 and 5 millimeters wide. Out of 30 samples of each fish species, traces of microplastics have been found in 21 red mullets, 15 sea bream, and 11 sardines. “A detailed analysis made in Slovenia confirmed that it was plastics. This is the first time that such an analysis has been performed in the Adriatic Sea. The problem with microplastics is that they can absorb a large amount of heavy metals, viruses and bacteria”, explained Tutman.
Around island Brač and Hvar 90% of marine waste was plastic. They assume that the floating waste is just 20% of what can be found under the surface.
This is the sad reality of Adriatic sea today and nobody should try to convince again that it´s not as bad as it seems when the reality is – it´s even worse. I can see plastic on the beaches, I can see currents carrying plastic pieces in front of my house, I can see big car tires, and other big waste on the sea bottom every time I go for a dive.
“It seems that every week, a new study comes out showing just how much damage we’re doing to our planet. This last one’s a doozy, though: according to Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, if we continue along the road we’re on, the ocean could begin to suffocate in about 15 years. Actually.” Alexander Haro, The Inertia Senior Editor Read the full article right here.
Video by 34thesea.org
Cover photo by Paul Kennedy, others by me