France 24 –
Some 250 billion microscopic pieces of plastic are floating in the Mediterranean, creating a biological hazard that reverberates up the food chain, according to research supported by green campaigners.
The estimate comes from French and Belgian marine biologists who analysed water samples taken in July off France, northern Italy and Spain to a depth of 10-15 centimetres (four to six inches).
“The rough estimate is that there are roughly 250 billion pieces of micro-debris in all the Mediterranean,” said Francois Galgani, of the French Institute for Exploration of the Sea (Ifremer), said.
The figure derives from 4,371 minute pieces of plastic — average weight 1.8 milligrams (0.00006 of an ounce) — found in the samples, “which extrapolates to roughly 500 tonnes for the entire Mediterranean,” Galgani said.
Ninety percent of the samples, taken by volunteers from Expedition MED (Mediterranean in Danger) on a 17-metre (55-feet) yacht, had such fragments.