Sea of plastic between Mallorca and Menorca
It is not fiction, nor is the already well-known plastic island of the Pacific, it is the future plastic island of the Balearic Islands and it is located in the Menorca channel, in an area very sensitive to marine pollution and where its state of health is fundamental for its economy, which depends 100% on the state of its waters, coves and beaches.
We have to think green and in some way or another get the withdrawal of the existing plates and avoid the contamination of others, with which we may have to propose new measures not very popular, restrictions (not prohibitions), controls and new services to new environmental challenges, especially due to the final conclusion of the study.
Some 752 million plastic particles float in the Canal de Menorca. They are concentrated in the 36-kilometer-wide strait that separates this island from that of Mallorca, according to the NIXE III Mediterranean investigation coordinated by the Center for Advanced Studies of Blanes (Girona) and with which the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies, the Balearic Islands Coastal Observation and Prediction System and the ESADE Business School since 2014.
The results of the study show that the values of plastic collected per square kilometer are 220,000 particles, which is equivalent to 1.1 kilos of this material.
The 752 million particles that are estimated in the Menorca Canal are equivalent to 3.7 tons, which mainly do not include large objects, but portions smaller than five millimeters fragmented by the effect of currents and waves.
These particles by their measure represent a significant threat to marine ecosystems, as they enter the food chain and reach humans.
DIRECT INFLUENCE OF TOURISM
The lead author of the study, Luis Ruiz-Orejón, explains that, although plastic of this size is manufactured, those that have been found “came mainly from fragmentation”. Ruiz-Orejón also warns that, “once they enter the marine ecosystems, they are transported by surface currents and the wind.”
The highest concentrations were detected in spring and summer in areas close to Mallorca, which points to the direct influence of tourism. This researcher also emphasizes that, although currents and waves act as «very effective cleaning mechanisms at certain times of the year, the particles do not disappear or are reduced, they simply move from one area to another.