Plastic dumped in Mediterranean could double by 2040

Around 230,000 tonnes of plastic is dumped into the Mediterranean Sea every year. The figure could more than double in the next 20 years, says the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) in a new report that estimates that over one million tonnes of plastic have already accumulated in the Mediterranean.

Of the 230,000 tonnes of plastic dumped into the Mediterranean Sea every year, Egypt, Italy and Turkey are the countries that release the most – mainly due to large coastal populations and mismanaged waste, says an IUCN report as reported by AFP. On a per capita basis Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and North Macedonia have the highest levels of plastic waste leakage into the Mediterranean.

The figure will reach 500,000 tonnes per year by 2040, says IUCN, unless steps are taken. It writes that”ambitious interventions beyond current commitments will be required to reduce the flow of plastic into the sea”.

Minna Epps, the director of the IUCN’s marine programme, warned that “marine animals can get entangled or swallow plastic waste, and ultimately end up dying from exhaustion and starvation.”

Over 50,000 tonnes of plastic leakage into the Mediterranean could be avoided each year if waste management was improved in the top 100 contributing cities alone, writes the report.

Photo by Martine Perret/UNMIT 3 December 2008

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