Every second more than 200 kilos of plastic are dumped in the world's seas and oceans, where more than 8 million tons a year end up, according to the study "Plastics in fish and shellfish", presented today by Greenpeace.
This report assures that today there is an undetermined but very high quantity - between 5 and 50 billion - of plastic fragments in these waters and that "not including the pieces deposited on the seabed or on the beaches."
Some of this waste can degrade and disappear in just six months, but others will take "several hundred years."
In addition, the experts of the environmental organization calculate that between now and 2020 the rate of plastics production will increase "up to 900% with respect to the figures of 1980" with amounts exceeding 50 million tons per year.
Half of this increase, they warn, "will occur in the course of the last decade."
The accumulation of plastics in the sea "derived one hundred percent from human action" has generated in recent years five large islands of garbage, mobile dumps made up of concentrated microplastics, in the Pacific (2), Atlantic (2) and Indian oceans (one).
80% of the waste that reaches the sea is generated on land and, of this figure, 15% remains on the surface and another 15% floats under water while 70% accumulates in the bottoms, therefore garbage that is visible to the naked eye "is the tip of the iceberg."
Spain, in fifth position
The Greenpeace campaign manager, Julio Barea, added to Efe that Spain is in fifth position among the European countries that demand the most plastic for its use and cites as an example that every day “up to 50 million containers are placed on our market of this material, only in beverage containers ".
Of that amount, "only 20 million are recycled correctly" because the rest end up in landfills, incinerated or "directly thrown into the environment."
Besides being a slower process than on land, degradation in the marine environment has an additional environmental impact due to the release of toxic substances from packaging that "are not part of the natural cycle of marine nutrients."
To draw attention to this problem, Greenpeace will launch a two-week campaign on Saturday August 27 under the title "Better without plastics" in which a group of volunteers will organize awareness-raising activities throughout the Spanish geography.
Up to 20 collections of waste abandoned in rivers, beaches and reservoirs in cities such as Valencia or Mallorca will help to make visible facts such as that a large part of this waste flows into the oceans through waterways.
"Better without plastics" will also encourage users of social networks to participate by contributing their testimonies and photographs to detect the presence of plastics in their environment.
In addition, Greenpeace will demand solutions from administrations to "the incorrect management or abandonment" of this polluting material in both the marine and terrestrial environment.
Reinforcing measures to eliminate the abandonment of containers and guaranteeing their correct recycling through the implementation of container return systems, as well as prohibiting the use of microplastics -those less than 5 millimeters-, are some of the requests of the organization to the Government.
Other measures, in this case recommended to citizens, include giving priority to reusable or returnable bottles and containers, replacing single-use plastic bags with cloth bags, baskets or trolleys, checking that the cosmetics used do not contain microplastics -polyethylene , polypropylene and nylon- and avoid items with excess packaging.