Plastic Presence

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The Oceanographic Centre of the Balearic Islands of the Spanish Institute of Oceanography (IEO) is in the middle of a campaign to assess the level of cleanliness of the waters of Mallorca. Their initial conclusion: plastic invades everything; “none of the coastal areas sampled is free of the presence of macro and microplastics.”

The IEO will take samples until the end of September from seven areas of Mallorca: Sóller, Palma, Andratx, Colònia de Sant Jordi, Can Picafort, Cala Rajada and Cala d’Or, areas selected due to the accumulation and persistence of the macroplastics and other marine litter. 

Microplastics come from fishing materials and threads, while granular and fragmented plastics are broken up from larger plastics. Researchers are concerned about the massive presence of plastics and its damaging effect on the marine ecosystem. Recent studies show that the concentration of microplastics in the Mediterranean means they become integrated in the food chain of the fish, which also become entangled in them. 

The plastics found on the Mallorcan coast prompted a visit from the Greenpeace flagship ‘Rainbow Warrior’. The NGO warned at the time, “Scientific studies show that the areas with the highest concentrations of plastic are located on the north coast of the islands, due to the dynamics of the sea currents. In the north of Mallorca and Ibiza there are points with a concentration of more than one million plastic fragments per square kilometre”. 

The results of this long-term study will be available from September.