CLAIM research reveals the amount of plastic debris currently in the Mediterranean

CLAIM research reveals the amount of plastic debris currently in the Mediterranean

A new CLAIM-funded research paper titled “Modeling the Pathways and Accumulation Patterns of Micro- and Macro-Plastics in the Mediterranean” is published in the journal “Frontiers in Marine Science”. It is also part of the new Research Topic (collection) of CLAIM “Cleaning Litter by Developing and Applying Innovative Methods in European Seas”. The study has been conducted by CLAIM researchers from the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), amongst whom are the coordinator – George Triantafyllou and project members Kostas Tsiaras, Yannis Hatzonikolakis, Sofia Klaroni and Annika Pollani.

Figure 1: Mean (2010–2017) model simulated (A) winter and (C) summer mean surface current velocity and sea surface height (m), against (B) winter and (C) summer satellite sea surface height. A schematic of Mediterranean surface circulation (continuous line = winter, dashed line = summer) from previous observation and modeling studies (Theoharis et al., 1999; Pinardi and Masetti, 2000; Menna et al., 2012) is also shown in (E). LG, Lion gyre; LPC, Liguro-Provencal current; AC, Algerian current; TC, Tyrrhenian cyclonic circulation; SAG, South Adriatic gyre; AIS, Atlantic-Ionian stream; CG, Western Cretan gyre; SG, Gulf of Syrte anti-cyclone; PG, Pelops gyre; IG, Ierapetra gyre; RG, Rhodes gyre; MMG, Mersa-Matruh gyre; MMJ, Mid-Med. Jet; ShG, Shikmona gyre; LTE, Latakia eddy; CC, Cilician current; AMC, Asia-Minor current; WCG, Western Cyprian eddy; LEC, Libyo-Egyptian current.

The paper examines the pathways and fate of plastics from major land-based sources (coastal cities and rivers). In order to do that, an 8-year simulation was used to identify micro- and macro plastics accumulation patterns in the surface layer, water column, seafloor and beaches. A number of sensitivity studies were used to determine the impact of various processes (vertical mixing, biofouling, and wind/wave drift).

The authors of the paper discovered that the amount of floating plastics in the Mediterranean region is 3,760 tonnes, which makes it a hot-spot for plastic pollution. That is because of its semi-enclosed nature and heavily populated coastal areas.

In a pursuit to support CLAIM and this publication in particular, the editorial staff at Frontiers Open Science Platform issued a press release, which has been sent out to various media outlets. The press release reached a multitude of media and in result, CLAIM’s coordinator, Prof. George Triantafyllou, and Mr. Kostas Tsiaris were invited to give interviews for four renowned media outlets in Greece last week.

You can read the full study and more about the methods used to reach the conclusions from it here.

Category: CLAIM news, News