New WWF Report on plastic pollution in the Mediterranean 

August 8th, 2019

The new WWF Report investigates the plastic management systems of all the Mediterranean countries. Mediterranean has been identified as the hotspot with the highest levels of plastic pollution. In fact, every year 570 thousand tons of plastic end up in the Mediterranean waters and plastic pollution area is expected to quadruple by 2050.


Pollution Warning in WWF Report

The WWF Report denounces the inefficiency of the plastic management systems of all the Mediterranean countries. In Italy marine plastic waste impacts on tourism, fishing and all maritime sectors, with an overall damage of around 641 million euros every.

The dossier shows the main failures and responsibilities of producers, public authorities and consumers. Also, identified the most damaged areas:

  • Egypt, the biggest source of plastic waste in the Mediterranean
  • the Cilicia coastline in southeast Turkey
  • the Po Delta near Venice.
  • Barcelona
  • Tel Aviv

Activities that take place along the coasts are responsible for half of the plastic poured into the sea. Governments and local municipalities manage just the 28% of their waste. We are talking about 6.6 million tons a year, almost half in Egypt, Turkey, Italy, Algeria and Morocco. The waste that escapes collection ends up in illegal dumps or dispersed in nature (thus, every year they end up around 2.9 million tons of waste, especially in Egypt and Turkey). In Morocco, 170 landfills to be closed still operate. And landfills and incinerators are still the main methods of waste management throughout the Mediterranean region.

Many countries, including Greece and Croatia, have yet to implement a tax system to discourage landfilling of waste. To this is added that many of these countries also import large quantities of waste from other areas of the world. After 2018, for example, when China reduced the amount of plastic waste, Turkey became one of the top ten waste importers.


Manage Waste Plastic Problem

The growing problem of plastic waste in the Mediterranean stems not only from high levels of plastic consumption by residents and tourists, but from under equipped waste collection and management systems in several countries. The report makes the recommendation that all Mediterranean governments should set targets to reuse or recycle 100% of all plastics and phase out single use plastic items.

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