The Mediterrean Sea
Did you know, the Mediterranean Sea wasn’t always a sea? Five million years ago, it was almost completely dried up!
Due to an underwater landslide where we now have the Strait of Gibraltar, the Mediterranean became isolated from the Atlantic Ocean, and therefore began to dry up. It remained like that for almost half a million years, until progressively the constant movement of the Atlantic Ocean consumed the landslide, filling up the dried-up Mediterranean again with water.
The Mediterranean represents just 1% of the world’s seas, but has enormous biodiversity. Nowadays, it is facing an invisible but equally dangerous threat – the invasion of plastic. Plastic pollution continues to grow, and the inability of countries to manage their waste has led to record levels of pollution.
The responsibility lies with everyone: but particularly governments and local communities who incorrectly manage around 28% of waste. Waste often ends up in illegal dumps or dispersed in nature and companies, in turn, place about 38 million tonnes of plastic products on the market every year without covering the costs of managing the excessive waste they contribute to generating. Given the low cost of plastic, companies have no incentive to invest in the use of alternative materials and further saturate the world with plastic.
We also have responsibility as citizens. We produce over 24 million tonnes of plastic waste every year and very often we are unable to recycle it properly, damaging recycling systems. Also due to global warming, water temperatures have risen by almost three degrees and have attracted alien species from warmer seas – disturbing the balanced ecosystem.
However, a change of course is possible. Many non-profit organisations are fighting all over the world to clean up the oceans. You too can join the team of volunteers at the Great British Beach Clean on the 20th-23rd September 2019, or search online and find a clean-up near you planned sooner.
Due to marine fauna being threatened, trawling over 100 meters deep has been banned, however International organisation ‘Oceana’ is fighting for more dramatic measures to be taken. Thanks to another organisation ‘Turtle Action Team’, hundreds of volunteers and biologists work 24/7 in marine fauna recovery centres to treat and release sea turtles, threatened by accidental fishing and plastic ingestion.
In Europe, the ban on disposable plastics was approved for 2021: no more plastic cutlery, plates, straws, cotton buds or expanded polystyrene boxes and plastic bottles will be reduced by 25% by 2025.
Change is necessary and fortunately change is already happening.
Millions of people depend on the sea and sustain themselves thanks to the activities linked to it, but even if you live in the city and don’t directly work with nature, we are all connected and impacted. For a cleaner world, everyone’s daily commitment is needed. Live sustainably and think sustainably; for a better present and to guarantee our future.