Plastic has become a ubiquitous material in the Mediterranean. It is part of people’s everyday life and it is a usual presence on its beaches and at sea. Every year, 0.57 million tonnes of plastic enters Mediterranean waters. This is equivalent to dumping 33,800 plastic bottles into the sea every minute. Without action, this number will keep growing as plastic waste generation in the region is expected to quadruple by 2050.
Plastic has negative, and often lethal, effects on marine life. It also disrupts the wealthy Blue Economy of the Mediterranean, and litters its coastlines. Regional economic losses attributed to plastic pollution are estimated at €641 million per year, with tourism being the most a ected sector.
Our analysis shows that in all Mediterranean countries plastic pollution is the result of failures across the entire plastic life cycle, including production, consumption, waste management, and secondary markets for recycled material. Therefore action must be taken at all levels to ensure zero leakage of plastic into nature.
The Mediterranean region is the world’s fourth largest producer of plastic goods, and its residents and visitors generate 24 million tonnes of plastic waste each year. Tourism increases waste by up to one-third during the summertime in some countries, resulting in local waste management facilities being often overwhelmed.
WWF, 2019, the report