Floating debris in the Mediterranean Sea

Results from the first large-scale survey of floating natural (NMD) and anthropogenic (AMD) debris (>2 cm) in the central and western part of the Mediterranean Sea are reported. Floating debris was found throughout the entire study area with densities ranging from 0 to 194.6 items/km2 and mean abundances of 24.9 AMD items/km2 and 6.9 NMD items/km2 across all surveyed locations. On the whole, 78% of all sighted objects were of anthropogenic origin, 95.6% of which were petrochemical derivatives (i.e. plastic and styrofoam). Maximum AMD densities (>52 items/km2) were found in the Adriatic Sea and in the Algerian basin, while the lowest densities (<6.3 items/km2) were observed in the Central Tyrrhenian and in the Sicilian Sea. All the other areas had mean densities ranging from 10.9 to 30.7 items/km2. According to our calculations, more than 62 million macro-litter items are currently floating on the surface of the whole Mediterranean basin.

Giuseppe Suaria, Stefano Aliani, Marine Pollution Bulletin, Volume 86, Issues 1–2, Pages 494–504, 15 September 2014

The article

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