Soon there will be more gloves and masks than jellyfish in the Mediterranean. The alarm was raised by Opération Mer Propre, a French ecologist organization that denounced the appearance of these wastes on the country’s coast and seabed.
The photos, which make you shiver, were taken during several cleaning operations on the beaches and seabed made in Antibes and in the Golfe-Juan bay, on the French Riviera. The organization has collected not only the classic plastic and aluminum waste (especially bottles and cans, but also a table and numerous cigarette butts) but also a worrying amount of surgical masks and disposable latex gloves.
“We were waiting for them, they arrived, but not in the right place … The first masks appeared in the Mediterranean”, reads the post published on the Facebook page of Opération Mer Propre.
Unfortunately, after having positively welcomed the lowering of the levels of air pollution due to the lockdown, we now find ourselves dealing with the increase in plastic waste or in any case of disposable objects which, instead of being disposed of correctly, are abandoned to their own destiny and end up polluting our roads and our seas.
Recently, an analysis by Ispra has revealed that the daily need for masks of the so-called Phase 2 is around 35/40 million pieces. Consequently, the daily waste production in Italy will be between 250 and 720 tons.
“Using the average weight of 11 grams (which takes into consideration all types of masks) and an intermediate requirement of 37.5 million, there would be a daily production of about 410 tons. The production calculated up to the end of 2020 (about 240 days) would therefore amount to between 60,000 and 175,000 tons of waste, with an average value of around 100,000 tons “.
This type of waste represents significant damage to the environment and is contributing decisively to the increase in marine littering, as documented by the images taken by the French environmental organization. According to the association, the personal protective equipment used against coronavirus populates the seabed together with plastics and cans, increasing the problem of water contamination.
In the photos taken by the association’s founder, Laurent Lombard, you can clearly see how much coronavirus and people’s incivility are contributing to the deteriorating situation in the Mediterranean.