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PLoS One. 2015 Apr 1;10(4):e0121762. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0121762. eCollection 2015.

Plastic accumulation in the Mediterranean sea.

Author information

1
Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias del Mar y Ambientales, Universidad de Cádiz, Campus de Excelencia Internacional del Mar, E-11510, Puerto Real, Spain.
2
Department of Global Change Research, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Miquel Marqués 21, 07190, Esporles, Spain; Departament de Geologia Dinàmica, Geofísica i Paleontologia, Facultat de Geologia, Universitat de Barcelona, 08028, Barcelona, Spain.
3
Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
4
Department of Global Change Research, IMEDEA (CSIC-UIB), Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados, Miquel Marqués 21, 07190, Esporles, Spain; Red Sea Research Center, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal, 23955-6900, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Abstract

Concentrations of floating plastic were measured throughout the Mediterranean Sea to assess whether this basin can be regarded as a great accumulation region of plastic debris. We found that the average density of plastic (1 item per 4 m2), as well as its frequency of occurrence (100% of the sites sampled), are comparable to the accumulation zones described for the five subtropical ocean gyres. Plastic debris in the Mediterranean surface waters was dominated by millimeter-sized fragments, but showed a higher proportion of large plastic objects than that present in oceanic gyres, reflecting the closer connection with pollution sources. The accumulation of floating plastic in the Mediterranean Sea (between 1,000 and 3,000 tons) is likely related to the high human pressure together with the hydrodynamics of this semi-enclosed basin, with outflow mainly occurring through a deep water layer. Given the biological richness and concentration of economic activities in the Mediterranean Sea, the affects of plastic pollution on marine and human life are expected to be particularly frequent in this plastic accumulation region.

PMID:
25831129
PMCID:
PMC4382178
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0121762
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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