MORE than 750 million particles of plastic, an amount equivalent to 3.7 tonnes, are floating about in the sea between Mallorca and Menorca, a report concludes.
Much of the plastic is tiny pieces of less than five millimeters, the result of fragmentation from bigger pieces, the main study author Dr Luis Ruiz-Orejon revealed.
He said that once these particles get into marine ecosystems they are transported by surface currents and the wind.
The report’s findings were based on samples collected quarterly from the 36-kilometre wide channel between the two Balearic islands in 2014 and 2015.
The data confirmed the greatest concentrations of plastic in the area were detected in spring and summer and in marine areas close to Mallorca, suggesting tourism has a direct influence.
Ruiz-Orejon pointed out that while currents and swells “are very effective cleaning mechanisms at certain times of the year, the particulars do not disappear or lessen, but simply move from one place to another.”
The study, published in Environmental Pollution, was the third part of a NIXE III Project investigation into plastic contamination in the central and western Mediterranean.